Side 1 was the weird melancholy side of this year’s summer adventures mix. Side 2 is the feeling-amazing, biking-at-night-and-loving-it, watching-a-moon-rocket-in-the-sky-from-the-roof, fireflies-and-lightning electro side.
- Adayudaya congregation – Psalm 136
- Michael RJ Saalman – Cancerous
- Pregnant – Philip (Your Song)
- Banabila & Machinefabriek – Spin ‘n Puke
- The Nothing – Sing-a-malon
- Pierre Henry – Psyche Rock
- Collin Crowe – Crystal Dreaming
- Gianni Safred – Disco Satellite
- Gershon Kingsley – Popcorn
- J.D. Robb – Synthi Waltz
LISTENING NOTES: Continue reading
This summer has been a strange and exciting one: moving to a new city, navigating new streets on a new bike, meeting new friends at a new job, living 3,000 miles from almost everyone I love.
This first half of the mixtape is the strange, nostalgic, mellow, melancholy side.
- Pregnant – Elisa (Your Song)
- Stephen Steinbrink – The Way It Is
- Dragging an Ox Through Water – Shima Uta
- Poppet – Tunnel Vision
- Elvis Presley – Blue Moon
- Dimples – Boundless Love
- Norwegian Arms – Jitterbug
- Ever Ending Kicks – Outside Again
- Dark Dark Dark – Daydreaming
- Kepi Ghoulie – Stormy Weather
Hear Side 2, too.
LISTENING NOTES: Continue reading
Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and I’m taking the day off work to hang out on the National Mall and hopefully feel a fraction of what it was like in 1963.
Ian and I sat on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday at the end of a pre-anniversary event. I tried to imagine 250,000 people filling every visible space around the Reflecting Pool, sitting in the trees, braving the heat to take a stand. I tried to imagine hundreds of buses lined up, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s voice echoing down to the Washington Monument. Can you imagine?
Admittedly, I knew very little about the event until I got to Smithsonian Folkways. One of my first assignments was to research the march, the speakers and the music and compile a commemoration playlist. Folkways released an LP the same year, We Shall Overcome: Documentary of the March on Washington, but I was instructed to dig through other protest songs, spirituals and speeches.
It was so inspiring to hear these songs: words and melodies that powered a movement, empowered a national community. The music of the Civil Rights Movement existed to unite and uplift.
[Or listen on Smithsonian Folkways]
For my internship at Smithsonian Folkways, I’ve been going through our existing themed playlists, adding songs of my choice from our catalog, and publishing them to Songza, a free music streaming service. Basically, I’m going through the same process of prepping my radio show, except now it’s my job!
Here’s a few of the playlists I made through the Folkways account:
I also just released my first personal playlist, Okinawa Island Time, featuring songs from and inspired by Japan’s southernmost island. I had to read through my whole oki yo! blog to remember artists, titles and place names.
Songza puts the tracks in random order, so in case you don’t get to Shoukichi Kina’s “Haisai Ojisan,” my favorite and one of the most popular Okinawan pop songs, here’s a non-video:
Ridiculous lyrics translated:
I’m spending this summer in Washington, D.C.!
For years as a college radio DJ, I said that my dream job would be to work at Smithsonian Folkways, the institution’s record label that specializes in regional folk music, field recordings and spoken word. The dream is coming true — temporarily and with no pay, but I’ll take it.
To get myself psyched up, I wanted to make a D.C.-themed mix, mostly so I could start it with that Magnetic Fields song. Instead I pulled out the few Folkways records I have in my collection and picked some favorites. If you’re unfamiliar with the label, here’s a tiny primer.
The greatest thing about Folkways is the detailed liner notes that come with each record: descriptions of musicians and instruments, translations of lyrics, and social contexts to what you’re hearing. (Sorry I can’t share those too.)
The other greatest thing is that every single record they’ve ever released is still, in a way, in print. You can order anything from their catalog digitally, on CD, or on tape. If the professionally manufactured copies are gone, they will burn you a CD-R or dub you a tape and Xerox all the liner notes. You can also listen to snippets of everything online (that’s where I got all the spoken word bits.)
This is a pretty measly sampling of all Smithsonian Folkways has to offer. Hopefully through the summer I’ll have much more to share!
Track list: Continue reading