Accessibility links

Breaking News

Folklife Festival Opens in Washington

With the Mexican group "Son de Madera," the Smithsonian Institution opened its 43rd annual Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. This year, the festival focuses on three subjects: oral traditions in African-American culture, Latin American music, and the culture of Wales.

The opening ceremony offered a taste of each. An example of the power of words in African-American culture is performer Charlotte Blake-Alston, a singer and story teller.

BLAKE-ALSTON: "So come and listen to me I wanna rap awhile; I wanna talk about a brother."

Traditional music groups from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Paraguay, the United States and Venezuela join this year's festival. Venezuela's Maestros del Joropo peformed and was followed by the influential Colombian rhythms of "Las Estrellas del Vallenato."

The people, culture and music of Wales is also featured in this year's Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Smithsonian Institution spokesperson, Amy Kehs, says more than 200 performers will share their talents for free.

“We have dancing, music, there is cooking, there is storytelling, crafts for children, we have a clog making here from Whales, we have a stage this year talking about the oral traditions of the barber shop and beauty salon," she adds.

Washingtonian Tony Brown is a repeat visitor to the Folklife Festival.

"I come every year, I volunteer when I can and I just love everything about it," said Mr. Brown.

In celebrating folk culture, food also plays an important role and this year's festival, like many others, highlights typical dishes of the regions. There is also dancing for all to celebrate cultural diversity.