This article is more than 5 years old.
Resource Review highlights ZSR Library resources and offers insider tips and best practices for their use. This month’s featured resource is Smithsonian Global Sound, presented by Leslie McCall, our Cataloging Librarian and music specialist.
Smithsonian Global Sound is an online database of audio resources from the collections of the Smithsonian and other archives around the world. The core collection is the Folkways label, whose mission, from the 1940s to the 1980s, was “to record and document the entire world of sound.” Besides the folk music for which it is renowned, Folkways also produced spoken-word and documentary recordings, included in this database, that are relevant to many fields of study – literature and languages; education and children’s literature; history and politics; sociology, women’s and gender studies; anthropology and area studies; classical studies; and religion studies. Here is a sampling of the content:
History and Politics
- Excerpts from the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
- Lincoln, Gettysburg Address
- Presidential Campaign Songs, 1789-1996
- The Jewish immigrant experience in America
- Freedom songs, Selma, Alabama
- Eugene V. Debs: Trade Unionist, Socialist, Revolutionary
- Berkeley Teach-in: Vietnam
- Watergate hearings
Literature and Languages
- The Dream Keeper and Other Poems of Langston Hughes (read by Hughes)
- William Shakespeare: King Richard III
- The Overcoat: By Nikolai Gogol – Performed in Russian
- An Interview with Henry Miller
- American Essays: Read by Houston Peterson
- Six Centuries of Recited French: Ruteboeuf to Voltaire
- Spanish Short Stories: Read in Spanish by Jorge Juan Rodriguez
- Narrative Reading by Lesley Frost of Poems by Robert Frost
- Padraic Colum Reading His Irish Tales and Poems
- Chaucer: Readings from Canterbury Tales (in Middle English)
- Chinese Poems of the Tang and Sung Dynasties: Read by Lo Kung-Yuan in Peking Dialect
- Readings from Tacitus: Read in Latin by John F.C. Richards
- Antigone: Sophocles (In the Original Greek)
Education and Children’s Literature
- Skip Rope Games
- Sound, Rhythm, Rhyme and Mime for Children
- It’s Story Telling Time (storyteller Linda Goss)
- Environmental Songs for Kids
- Nikki Giovanni reads her poems for children
- French Children’s Songs for Teaching French
- Lead Belly Sings for Children
- Villancicos: Spanish Christmas Songs for Children
- Children’s Folk Songs of Germany
- Folk Tales from West Africa
- Children’s Counting Out Rhymes in English and Spanish
- American Work Songs
- What Did You Expect: Songs About the Experiences of Being Gay
- Heartbeat: Voices of First Nations Women
- Palestine Lives!: Songs from the Struggle of the People of Palestine
- Ashanti: Folk Tales from Ghana
- Noh and Kyogen Plays Live
- Dream Songs and Healing Sounds in the Rainforests of Malaysia
- Sounds of London (environmental recording)
- Islamic Liturgy: Koran – Call to Prayer, Odes, Litany
- Easter Ceremonies in Jerusalem
- The Way of Eiheiji: Zen-Buddhist Ceremony
- Urban Holiness Service
- A Russian Christmas
- Shape Note Folk Hymns: Sacred Harp Singing at Stewart’s Chapel in Houston, Mississippi
- Wade in the Water: African American Sacred Music Traditions
The database is produced in partnership with Alexander Street Press, from whom we also have Classical Music Library, Filmakers Library Online, Theatre in Video, and American Song. The interface offers search facets for genres, topics, places, and communities, as well as advanced search capabilities; also functionality for creating clips and compiling playlists. Selections can be permalinked, embedded, emailed, shared, or sent to a mobile device. Liner notes are downloadable.
We invite you to explore Smithsonian Global Sound, for compelling primary-source material that can enrich almost any syllabus or research project!
4 Comments on ‘Resource Review: Smithsonian Global Sound’
What a fantastic resource. Thanks for uncovering it, Leslie!
This is quite an unexpected treasure trove ! Thanks Leslie, for the discovery.
I absolutely love the old Folkways label. Thanks for highlighting this collection.
Thank you for showcasing this exquisite collection, Leslie! There are so many gems in this collection– especially from Folkways Records!
(Cowboy Brag-Talk is certainly a new favorite: https://wake.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.alexanderstreet.com/view/work/242252) [URL updated, 2022-12-14.]