The 1995 Festival featured American Indian women's musical traditions, the heritage of the Czech Republic and Czech Americans, music of Russian and Russian American groups, and the cultural life of the Cape Verdean community. These programs testified to the vitality of the human spirit, and to how people, ideas, and forms of cultural expression increasingly cross boundaries of geography, politics, language, race, and gender. Special events included evening concerts devoted to African immigrant communities in the Washington, D.C. area and a memorial concert for Festival founding director, Ralph Rinzler.
Heartbeat: The Voices of First Nations Women presented the musical culture of American Indian women. The program examined how these women express their identity through the use of a variety of musical forms - from traditional songs of home to contemporary songs of Indian life, from the appropriation of men's music to the fusion of root music with country, folk, blues, and gospel.
The Czech Republic: Tradition and Transformation provided a broad survey of the ways national, regional, ethnic, and local traditions have been defined in a complex state located at the crossroads of Central Europe. The "Velvet Revolution" of 1989 and the separation of the Czech and Slovak Republics in 1993 have prompted further examinations of cultural identity, the relationship between the state and popular expression, creativity and tradition. Czech Americans, too, have looked at these changes and the reestablishment of relationships to their ancestral homeland.
A third program, Russian Roots, American Branches: Music in Two Worlds, explored the musical culture of Old Believers and Molokans, Russian religious communities created in the 17th and 18th centuries. The program united immigrant communities long established in the United States with those from Russia, and brought together people who, although separated by generations and different social environments, have nonetheless faced parallel issues with regard to cultural persistence and adaptation.
All these programs involved complex institutional arrangements, local-level research and documentation, and strong commitment to and pride in Festival representation. The Cape Verdean Connection program well demonstrated these processes. Cape Verde is an independent island nation and former Portuguese colony located off the west coast of Africa. Cape Verdean Americans, now numbering about 400,000, most born and raised here, historically settled in New England during the 18th century, playing instrumental roles in the whaling and cranberry industries. Cape Verdeans had an important story to tell about their role in American life, their immigrant and continuing transnational cultural experience, their multiracial heritage, and their enduring sense of community - a story with much to tell others as well. Cape Verdeans provided the impetus for the Festival program, carried out most of the research in concert with Smithsonian scholars, led the effort to raise funds from governments, foundations, corporations, and individuals through benefit dances, auctions, and other community events, and, as is fitting, joined with the Smithsonian to share their experiences with the American public.
The 1995 Festival took place during two five-day weeks (June 23-27 and June 30-July 4) between Madison Drive and Jefferson Drive and between 10th Street and 13th Street, south of the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History (see site plan
). It featured four programs and several special events.
The 1995 Program Book
included schedules and participant lists for each program; essays provided background on the Festival and each of the four programs.
The Festival was co-presented by the Smithsonian Institution and National Park Service and organized by the Center for Folklife Programs & Cultural Studies.
Center for Folklife Programs & Cultural Studies
Richard Kurin, Director; Richard Kennedy, Deputy Director; Diana Parker, Festival Director; Anthony Seeger, Director, Smithsonian/Folkways Recordngs; Peter Seitel, Senior Folklorist; Thomas Vennum, Jr., Senior Ethnomusicologist; Betty Belanus, Olivia Cadaval, Amy Horowitz, Marjorie Hunt, Diana Baird N'Diaye, Curators, Folklorists, Educational and Cultural Specialists; Carla M. Borden, John W. Franklin, Charlene James-Duguid, Program Managers; Felicia Erickson, Arlene L. Reiniger, Mary Van Meter, Program Specialists; Jeffrey Place, Archivist; Kenneth M. Bilby, Roland Freeman, Ivan Karp, Corrine Kratz, Alan Lomax, Worth Long, Yook Jung Park, Kate Rinzler, Research Associates & Collaborators
Folklife Advisory Council and Folkways Advisory Council
Roger Abrahams, Jacinto Arias, Michael Asch, Jane Beck, Don DeVito, Pat Jasper, Ella Jenkins, Jon Kertzer, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, John Nixdorf, Bernice Reagon, John Roberts, Carol Robertson, Gilbert Sprauve, Jack Tchen, Ricardo Trimillos, Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez
National Park Service
Roger Kennedy, Director; Robert G. Stanton, Regional Director, National Capital Region