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Music Playlists

In celebration of our 50th Anniversary, we invite you on a musical journey across the United States. Of the more than 400 master folk and traditional artists who have received the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, 100 of them are Smithsonian Folkways Recordings artists, many of whom have participated in the Folklife Festival numerous times.

The following playlists, curated and compiled by respected experts in their fields, capture the rich array of musical styles and cultural stories—from Texas Mexican conjunto to Cajun fiddling, from African American blues to Appalachian ballads—that characterize the American experience.

Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
Sound Introductions: Meet the National Heritage Fellows through Folkways
By Cliff Murphy, Director of Folk & Traditional Arts, NEA
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
American Latino National Heritage Fellows
By Daniel Sheehy, Director & Curator Emeritus, Smithsonian Folkways
Routes to American Musical Treasures
Routes to American Musical Treasures
By Jeff Place, Curator and Senior Archivist, Rinzler Archives
Best of the Bayou
Best of the Bayou: Cajun and Zydeco Music from Louisiana
By Michael Doucet, Cajun Musician and NEA National Heritage Fellow
Best of the Bayou
African American National Heritage Fellows
By Mark Puryear, Producer and Musician

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