Concerts from the Library of Congress, 2013-2014

A free noon concert series presented by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in cooperation with the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. All concerts are in the Coolidge Auditorium (located on the Ground Floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress). NO TICKETS REQUIRED.


An-sky Yiddish Heritage Ensemble | Klezmer and other Yiddish music from New York

Michael Alpert and Ethel Raim

TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 2013 at 12:00 NOON


The An-sky Yiddish Heritage Ensemble -- renowned Yiddish folk singers Michael Alpert and Ethel Raim, tsimblist (hammered dulcimer player) Pete Rushefsky and violinist Jake Shulman-Ment -- celebrates the hundredth Anniversary of the historic An-sky Expedition. This 1911-1914 ethographic expedition systematically documented the Jewish folk culture of dozens of communities in Ukraine and White Russia.  It is named for its leader, Yiddish writer and folklorist Semyon An-sky, pen name of Shloyme Zaynvl Rapoport (1863-1920), who is best known as the author of the groundbreaking play The Dybbuk.  The An-sky materials, located at the Russian Museum of Ethnography in St. Petersburg, stand as an unparalleled record of a lost, preindustrial Jewish society that was carried out in the Yiddish language. Inspired by An-sky’s work, and affiliated with the New York-based Center for Traditional Music and Dance, the An-sky Yiddish Heritage Ensemble is a supergroup of four leading performers and researchers of Yiddish music who present a diverse program of rare Yiddish folksongs and exciting klezmer instrumentals collected through field and archival research. The ensemble also performs original music rooted in the tradition, and in doing so keeps the flame of Yiddish culture alive. Photo by Janina Wurbs.

The An-sky Yiddish Heritage Ensemble and the Center for Traditional Music and Dance are supported by the Keller-Shatanoff Foundation and the Atran Foundation.

Libaya Baba | Garifuna Music and Dance from California and New York


Libaya Baba


Libaya Baba means "Grandfather’s Grandchildren." The group consists of three brothers Jeffrey, Kelsie, and Dayton Bernardez, and their cousin, Greg Palacio.  Their first influence came from their grandfather, Cyril Antonio, and other master drummers of Dangriga, Belize. After migrating to Los Angeles, California, in the late 1970s, they felt the need to preserve their indigenous Garifuna culture, which has both Caribbean and West African elements. Libaya Baba has retained the traditional format of call and response in songs, to uphold the memory of their ancestors. Their music is accompanied by a pair of Sisira (maracas), one Primero (small wooden snare drum), two Segundas (mid size & large wooden bass drums) Conch and Turtle shells. The genres of music they play include Hüngü-hüngü, Paranda, Punta, Kulióu, Wanaragua, Hupi Malad, Warini, Gunjéi, “Two for Shilling,” Chumba and Chárikanári. They have intrigued audiences throughout the U.S.

Harmonia | Music of the Danube to the Carpathians from Ohio

THURSDAY, JULY 11 at 12:00 noon



Harmonia presents traditional folk music of Eastern Europe, ranging from the Danube to the Carpathians. Its repertoire reflects the cultures of this region: Hungarian, Slovak, Ukrainian, Romanian, Croatian and Gypsy. Performed on authentic folk instruments, and styled after turn-of-the-century eastern-European Gypsy bands, their music is drawn from both the urban and rural traditions of eastern Europe. The musicians come from varied eastern-European backgrounds; in Harmonia they have found a common musical language. In addition to being polished performers on instruments as varied as accordion, upright bass, violin, pan-flute, and cimbalom (hammered dulcimer), Harmonia’s members are adept at explaining their music and culture to diverse audiences. Harmonia brings to the concert stage the vitality and excitement of ethnic weddings, celebrations, and smoky cafés that inspired composers such as Bartok, Brahms and Liszt.

The Brotherhood Singers | R&B and Gospel from Kentucky


The Brotherhood Singers


Hailing from Covington, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio, the Brotherhood Singers (formerly The Northern Kentucky Brotherhood Singers) are among the very few remaining gospel quartet-style groups that still perform in the old-school a cappella fashion. The Singers specialize in the intricate and emotional four-part harmony "jubilee" style pioneered by such legendary groups as the Dixie Hummingbirds, The Golden Gate Quartet, the Soul Stirrers and The Harptones of Cincinnati. The Brotherhood Singers started singing at the 9th Street Baptist Church in Covington. The group has performed in churches, secular music venues and television spots throughout the U.S., as well as in Canada and Spain, which they have toured 17 times. In April 2012, they toured Russia as part of the first “Festival of Traditional American Music,” a joint project of AFC, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, and CEC ArtsLink. They sing primarily Gospel but have recently added patriotic songs and feel-good R&B to their repertoire.

Kalanidhi Dance | Traditional Kuchipudi Dance from Maryland


Kalanidhi Dance


Kalanidhi Dance Company was founded in 2005. Its artistic approach is to explore creative and contemporary ideas through the vocabulary of Kuchipudi, while retaining the essence and integrity of the classical form. Kuchipudi, one of India's seven main classical dance styles, combines fast rhythms with fluid movements, creating a blend of control and abandon, strength and delicacy. Expressive facial techniques and subtle body movements serve as the cornerstone of Kuchipudi and document and preserve the centuries-old body language of Andhra Pradesh women. Trained in the rigors of the Vempati style, the Kalanidhi Dance Company very quickly gained a reputation for producing new and original choreography that has been praised by Indian and American dance critics. An important part of the company’s mission is to promote dialogue in the arts and to nourish creativity through interaction with artists of other styles and genres.  Kalanidhi Dance toured India in October 2007 to participate alongside some of India’s best dance troupes in the Ananya festival, one of India’s most prestigious dance festivals.  Kalanidhi Dance was also presented at India’s premier classical dance institution, Kalakshetra in Chennai.

Los Texmaniacs | Traditional Conjunto Dance music from Texas


Los Texmaniacs


Los Texmaniacs mix the simplest yet finest ingredients of Texas music to create a sound solidly rooted in tradition, exploding with contemporary vitality. Their versatility has led them to perform at The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, The International Accordion Festival, The Kennedy Center, The Governor of Texas Ball, and many major festivals overseas in countries such as Germany, Holland, and Spain. Founder Max Baca is a renowned innovator on the bajo sexto, a twelve string guitar-like instrument, which customarily provides rhythm accompaniment for the button accordion, creating the core of the Texas conjunto sound. Los Texmaniacs is a product of Baca’s wide-ranging experience touring and recording with his father's family conjunto, Flaco Jimenenz, the original Texas Tornados, Los Super Seven, and even the Rolling Stones. His travels have included tours to Iraq, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Kosovo to entertain American troops. He has appeared on national television programs such as Conan O' Brien, David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Austin City Limits, and has been featured in several documentaries, including Songs of the Homeland, American Roots Music, and Latin Music USA. Max has participated on ten Grammy-winning projects, including the double-platinum CD for the Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge. In 2009 Los TexManiacs won a Grammy Award for their album Borders Y Bailes, released on Smithsonian Folkways.

Flory Jagoda and Friends | Sephardic Music from Virginia


Flory Jagoda

FREE-OF-CHARGE TICKETS (from Brown Paper Tickets, available July 20)

This concert celebrates Flory Jagoda’s internationally recognized career as singer, composer, and teacher of Sephardic song, and will honor her role as “keeper of the flame” for preserving, perpetuating, and expanding this venerable Jewish cultural tradition. Family members and musical colleagues and from the Washington, D.C., area and beyond will join Jagoda to perform the songs that she has taught them in her quest to transmit her family’s musical heritage and keep it vibrantly alive. A 2002 recipient of a National Heritage Fellowship, presented by the National Endowment for the Arts, Jagoda later served as a Master Artist in the Folklife Apprenticeship Program for the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Born in Sarajevo, Bosnia, in 1923, Flory Jagoda learned many songs from her Nona (grandmother) and other family members, who were known as the “Singing Altaračs.” Her original compositions and arrangements have been performed and recorded by singers and groups in the U.S. and Europe and many are now firmly entrenched in Sephardic song tradition. This concert is co-sponsored by the Library of Congress Music Division.