Celebrating 75 Years of Folkways Records

18.10.23 words by Niall McKenna


On Sunday 22nd October, we're hosting a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the iconic label Folkways Records, a collaboration with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Broadcasting all day, from 11am BST to 11pm BST / 7am - 7pm EDT, we’re inviting friends and admirers of the label onto the airwaves to share some of their favourite recordings from the label’s seven-decade history, as well as speaking to figures who were key in making Folkways the cultural institution it is today.

We sit down for a conversation with ethnomusicologist and producer Verna Gillis, and hear from one of the most revered living folk artists: Peggy Seeger. Ahead of their new Smithsonian Folkways release Return to Archive, Matmos present an hourlong manipulation of sounds, noises and voices taken from albums originally released by the Cook and Folkways record labels - stacking, slicing, filtering and transforming them into different shapes. We’ve also drafted in some Folkways superfans to share their favourite sounds from the extensive catalogue: psych heroes Animal Collective mix ethnographic recordings with early experimental and electronic LPs, while Angel Bat Dawid plays her favourite recordings by pioneering jazz pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams, and director Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep, My Brother’s Wedding) picks from the label’s vast blues archive.

Tune in to nts.live/2 on Sunday for the full broadcast.


✭Charles Burnett
✭Angel Bat Dawid: A Mary Lou Williams Special
✭Animal Collective
✭Beatrice Dillon
✭Verna Gillis & Emily Hilliard In Conversation
✭Steve Gunn
✭Bill Orcutt
✭A Tribute to Lucinda Williams by Jenn Pelly
✭Peggy Seeger

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