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Public contact: David Horgan, Smithsonian Institution (202) 633-6458

September 15, 2011

American Folklife Center’s Endangered Music Project To Be Reissued

Project To Be Part of Smithsonian Folkways’ Mickey Hart Collection

The American Folklife Center’s Endangered Music Project will be reissued as part of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings’ "The Mickey Hart Collection" on Oct. 11. Music will be available digitally (stream and download) for the first time while keeping physical versions in print as on-demand CDs.

The Mickey Hart Collection begins with 25 albums drawn from "The World," a series the Grateful Dead percussionist curated that incorporated his solo projects, other artists’ productions and re-releases of out-of-print titles. Six of the 25 albums form the "Endangered Music Project," a collaboration between Hart and the American Folklife Center, which presents recordings from musical traditions at risk. Both "The World" and "The Endangered Music Project" were previously distributed by Rykodisc from 1988 to 2002.

The Endangered Music Project features recordings of rare traditional music from Brazil, Indonesia, West Africa and other parts of the world. As a whole, the Mickey Hart Collection offers a wide variety of music from virtually every corner of the globe, recorded in a diverse range of locations from the Nubian Desert to the Papua New Guinea rainforest.

"Our new technologies are part of a powerful civilization which is rapidly transforming the world around us. It changes the environment, often in ways that endanger the delicate ecological balance nature has wrought over the millennia," said Hart. "It also brings radical change to other cultures. Sometimes that change is empowering. But all too often it endangers precious human ways of life, just as surely as it endangers the environment within which those ways of life flourish. This series is dedicated to the hope that with education, empathy, and assistance, imperiled cultures can survive."

Hart co-produced The Endangered Music Project with Alan Jabbour, who was then director of the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress. Hart has also co-written four books documenting his lifelong fascination with the history and mythology of music. These include "Drumming at the Edge of Magic," "Planet Drum," "Spirit into Sound: The Magic of Music" and "Songcatchers: In Search of the World's Music." He served on the Smithsonian Folkways advisory board in the late 1980s, where he was instrumental in shaping digitization strategy for the Moses and Frances Asch Folkways Records Collection and served as technical director for The Original Vision, the initial Smithsonian Folkways reissue of Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly recordings. He also digitally remastered the Smithsonian Folkways album "Hawaiian Drum Dance Chants" and, with Thomas Vennum, Jr., supervised sound duplication for the album "Navajo Songs."

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference, service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. For more information on the center, visit

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to the Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at

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PR 11-165
ISSN 0731-3527

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