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  • Day One: Top Ten Photos

    Today the Festival returned to the National Mall with a bang! Nearby lightning strikes forced the opening concert indoors, courtesy of our neighbors at the National Museum of Natural History. The Baird Auditorium, at capacity, filled with sounds and stories of Afghanistan and the Afghan American diaspora.

    Starting with Yo-Yo Ma’s solo cello performance of the African American spiritual “Nobody Knows the Troubles I’ve Seen,” the evening evolved through moments of joy, empathy, and camaraderie. If you missed the concert, you can watch the archived livestream.

    Performers seated on stage, and Yo-Yo Ma, standing with a cello and talking into a microphone, on the left.
    Yo-Yo Ma opened the concert “The Gifts We Carry: Sounds of Migration and Memory” in the Baird Auditorium, National Museum of Natural History.
    Photo by Sonya Pencheva, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Two men seated on stage, holding hands.
    Salar Nader and Homayoun Sakhi
    Photo by Sonya Pencheva, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Woman on stage singing.
    Sophie Sherai sang a song of anguish and hope for the freedom of Afghan women.
    Photo by Philip Lee, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Two men standing on stage, arms around each other.
    Yo-Yo Ma and Richard Kurin, the interim director of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, joked about being brothers from another mother, with parallel passions for cultural connection.
    Photo by Philip Lee, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Two men seated on stage, performing.
    Fanoos Family
    Photo by Philip Lee, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Woman in red dress playing violin on stage.
    Chelsey Green
    Photo by Sonya Pencheva, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Man on stage playing cello.
    Yo-Yo Ma
    Photo by Philip Lee, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Two people standing on stage. Yo-Yo Ma on the right is holding a small carpet, mouth agape.
    Folklife Festival director Sabrina Lynn Motley presented Yo-Yo Ma with a “peace carpet,” woven by Afghan women depicting their ideals of peace.
    Photo by Philip Lee, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Two performers seated, playing on stage.
    Salar Nader and Homayoun Sakhi
    Photo by Philip Lee, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Performers on stage, standing together for a final bow, with audience giving standing ovation in the foreground.
    The performers took their final bow together to a standing ovation, closing an evening of music and community as one.
    Photo by Sonya Pencheva, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives

    Our usual daytime programming begins tomorrow, and we can’t wait to explore Earth Optimism × Folklife and the United Arab Emirates with you. Start your day in the Meyer Auditorium at the Freer Art Gallery for the Opening Ceremony and celebrate our in-person reopening! Join a poetry workshop with artists from the UAE.

    Feeling hungry? Visit Festival Foodways to learn about Omani-style pit cooking and farm-raised fish! Attend virtual Folklife Studio sessions on our journey to zero waste, how animals and humans can live in harmony, and how we get around!

    Stick around for a conversation about species conversation at 5 p.m. and our FolkLIVE Concert featuring Dubai-based band NOON and D.C.’s very own go-go group Experience Unlimited at 6:30 p.m. 

    All this and so much more tomorrow at Day 2 of the Folklife Festival!

    Annabella Hoge is the 2022 Folklife Festival media intern, and Elisa Hough is the editor at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Together they are Team Top Ten.


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