Labor music is such a strong part of the Smithsonian Folkways collection that we have dedicated an entire issue of our magazine to exploring it. Containing three streaming playlists, dozens of images, archival audio, original video, and thousands of words, the Labor issue of Smithsonian Folkways Magazine presents a wide variety of labor themes from the collection.
“Sharecropper’s Troubadour: Songs of Solidarity in Hard Times” – Michael Honey
This story explores the formative influence of labor songwriter John Handcox.
“My Story” – Bev Grant
Artist Bev Grant reflects on her life and career as a working-class woman labor musician.
“Musical Labor Performed in Northwest Tanzania” – Frank Gunderson
Musical labor practices in Tanzania are examined with original fieldwork media.
“Wisconsin’s Solidarity Sing Along: Making Old Labor Songs New” – Michael S. O’Brien
Wisconsin’s ongoing Solidarity Sing Along “makes old labor songs new” by rewording the lyrics of labor classics.