Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution the national museum of the United States. They are dedicated to supporting cultural diversity and increased understanding among peoples through the documentation preservation and dissemination of sound. Folkways Records believe that musical and cultural diversity contributes to the vitality and quality of life throughout the world. Through the dissemination of audio recordings and educational materials Folkways Records seek to strengthen people s engagement with their own cultural heritage and to enhance their awareness and appreciation of the cultural heritage of others. Our mission is the legacy of Moses Asch who founded Folkways Records in 1948 to document people s music spoken word instruction and sounds from around the world. The Smithsonian acquired Folkways from the Asch estate in 1987 and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings has continued the Folkways commitment to cultural diversity education increased understanding and lively engagement with the world of sound.
Of Elder Songsters 1 & 2 Frederic Ramsey Jr. writes The mothers fathers grandmothers and grandfathers [have] kept the music alive and burning in the home. There are ways of singing hymns and other songs that are peculiar to the family unit and to [the] everyday environment... It is this everyday environment...that we have sought to capture in these two volumes.