2006 - 2007


Three-Part Podcast Series on the Anthology at Smithsonian Folkways Recordings



Episodes 4, 5, and 6 discuss the Anthology of American Folk Music, examining the life and art of Harry Smith, the original material of the Anthology and its enduring legacy.

Download and enjoy here.


posted February 7, 2007


Early Abstractions Added to the National Film Registry



On Early Abstractions #1-5, 7, 10 (1939-56):

"Harry Smith made his mark in many fields. He was a painter, archivist and compiler of the landmark “Anthology of American Music” (which helped stimulate a folk and blues revival). Smith also was a groundbreaking avant-garde filmmaker whose revolutionary animation challenged traditional concepts of cinema. His films used batik, collage and optical printing to create a tumult of shapes and images that integrates chaos with control. Consisting of seven films made over a 17-year span, “Early Abstractions” is a lovely, ever-moving collage of abstraction, color and imagery."

Read more from the Library of Congress.

Read the Animation World Network article.

posted December 27, 2006

"A Brief History of String" by Sabrina Gschwandtner, article on Harry's string figures in Cabinet Magazine

Download article here.

posted November 11, 2006


The Anthology went GOLD on December 2, 2005!!

The Anthology of American Folk Music has gone gold.

The RIAA honors the Anthology with a Gold® album award for the sale of 500,000 copies. That’s 83,333 copies of the 6-CD set. The RIAA® Gold® and Platinum® Awards program was launched in 1958 in an effort to create a standard by which to measure sales of a sound recording.

Rabbi Abulafia's Boxed Set

Jon Kalish documentary on KCRW – Lionel Ziprin’s holy mission. A radio documentary tracks the colorful story of the recordings Harry Smith made of Lionel Ziprin's grandfather, Rabbi Abulafia. Click here for more information.

Shout! Factory will release “The Old, Weird America: Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music”

The “Old, Weird America” documentary film tracks the history of Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music from its initial compilation of 78 records from rural Americana (1927 - 1934) by eccentric filmmaker Harry Smith to its release on Folkways Records in 1952, the folk music boom of the 1960s through its re-release on CD in 1997 and its continuing influence on contemporary music today.

On DVD and CD. Release Date August 2006
Stay Tuned!!!

February 10 – 12, 2006
Northwest Film Forum presents
Harry Smith: Connections and Transformations

Many of Smith's interests and practices were forged in his youth in the Pacific Northwest. Northwest Film Forum is proud to present a tribute to this important cultural figure and one of the greatest filmmakers to come from the Northwest. The series features screenings of rarely seen Smith films made between 1946 and 1980, including early hand-painted works, collage animations, and the Seattle premiere of the recently restored, multiple-screen masterpiece MAHAGONNY. The series also includes a number of special events illuminating the peculiar brilliance of his work and creative process as well as his early experiences in the Northwest.




Shout Factory releases the Harry Smith Project Revisited!


View official press release


News and Press


Films by Harry Smith at Doc Films in Chicago

Listed in Time Out Chicago's "Five Things To Do Today" and in the Chicago Reader. From the Reader's capsule review by Fred Camper:

Harry Smith, one of the greatest filmmakers of the American avant-garde, was a legendary eccentric: a painter, art collector, amateur anthropologist, and folk-music anthologist whose pioneering animations offer original, mind-altering visions. In his notes Smith recorded the drugs he used while making them, yet his work is incredibly controlled. Early Abstractions (1939-'57), a collection of short, early work, includes batiking and painting on film, techniques that produce incredibly complex fields of shifting shapes and rhythms. Also on the 65-minute program: Later Superimpositions #14 (1964) and Mirror Animation (1979). 16mm.

Doc Films, University of Chicago. 1212 E 59th St between Kimbark and Woodlawn Aves (773-702-8574). Metra: Elec Main to 59th St. Bus: 4 (24hrs), X4, 14, 28, 59, 171. $4, Sunday matinee $3.

Time Out Chicago link

Chicago Reader link

posted July 25, 2007


The top 10 on Mojo's 100 Records That Changed The World list is:

1. Tutti Frutti by Little Richard
2. I Want To Hold Your Hand by The Beatles
3. Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley
4. The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan by Bob Dylan
5. Autobahn by Kraftwerk

6. King of The Delta Blues Singers by Robert Johnson

7. The Velvet Underground by The Velvet Underground + Nico

8. Anthology of American Folk Music
9. What'd I Say by Ray Charles
10. God Save The Queen by Sex Pistols

read more

posted May 16, 2007


Harry Smith Anthology Remixed

61/62 Thornton Street
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE1 4AW (entry via alt.vinyl record shop)
+44 (0)191 222 1213 (visitor information only)

8 May – 30 June, 2007


A companion exhibition to Harry Smith, Hobbies and Films. The exhibition brings together the work of 84 leading artists and musicians, who have been invited to make a visual artwork in response to 1 track each from the groundbreaking music release the Anthology of American Folk Music. The Anthology was edited by seminal New York artist, musicologist and experimental filmmaker Harry Smith, and first published by Folkways in 1952.

For more information please visit www.altgallery.org or email mail@altgallery.org.

posted May 5, 2007


Harry Smith, Hobbies and Films

Reg Vardy Gallery

University of Sunderland

Ashburne House, Ryhope Road, SR2 7EF


May 2 - June 8, 2007

This exhibition includes a variety of Smith’s eccentric ethnographic collections, or what he called ‘Encyclopaedias of Design’ such as string figures, Pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs), early sound recordings, and a range of his hand-painted, stop-motion and collaged animations such as Early Abstractions, and Late Superimpositions.   The exhibition will also include documentation of Smith’s paper airplane collection.  This unusual and rare collection is comprised of hundreds of paper airplanes found by Smith on the streets of New York City from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. This exhibition of the hobbies and artistry of Harry Smith has been organised in collaboration with the Harry Smith Archives and Anthology Film Archives, New York.  


Download the press release of the first European exhibition devoted to Harry Smith's films and hobbies!

posted April 5, 2007

Magic in Music and Motion: The Sights and Sounds of Harry Smith

Anthology Film Archives

March 15-20, 2007


Thursday March 15

7:30    No. 12 Heaven and Earth Magic (1957-62) new preservation print

8:00   The Old, Weird America: Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music (2006)

           New York premiere! Filmmaker in person!

Friday March 16

7:30    No. 12 Heaven and Earth Magic (1957-62)

8:00   The Old, Weird America: Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music (2006)

           Filmmaker in person!

Saturday March 17

3:30   Harry Smith Program

           Early Abstractions (1941-57)

           Mirror Animations (1957)

           Late Superimpositions (1964)

           Oz, The Tin Woodman's Dream (1967)

5:00   Film #18: Mahagonny (1970-80)

5:30   No. 12 Heaven and Earth Magic (1957-62)

7:30   No. 12 Heaven and Earth Magic (1957-62)

8:00   The Old, Weird America: Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music (2006)

           Filmmaker in person!

Sunday March 18

3:30   Harry Smith Program

           Early Abstractions (1941-57)

           Mirror Animations (1957)

           Late Superimpositions (1964)

           Oz, The Tin Woodman's Dream (1967)

5:00   Film #18: Mahagonny (1970-80)

5:30   No. 12 Heaven and Earth Magic (1957-62)

7:30   No. 12 Heaven and Earth Magic (1957-62)

8:00   The Old, Weird America: Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music (2006)

           Filmmaker in person!

Monday, March 19

7:30    No. 12 Heaven and Earth Magic (1957-62)


view full program here


posted March 15, 2007

Best of the Boxed: New York Times review

"Whether the arrangements are folky (Geoff Muldaur) or swathed in noise (the avant-jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd with Sonic Youth), the songs still give performers something to tear into."

download article here

posted November 25, 2006


Harry Smith Project makes Entertainment Weekly's Must List



posted November 24, 2006


Uncut gives The Harry Smith Project four stars

"Though Smith's deeply eccentric work can hardly be replicated, artsits from every musical stripe - Beck to Ed Sanders, Marianne Faithfull to Nick Cave -commune with history here."

download article here

posted November 17, 2006


"Old Songs, Fresh Voices, New Lives": AP ASAP review by Ted Anthony

Nick Cave

"...It recruits such familiar voices as Steve Earle, Nick Cave, Elvis Costello, Beck and Wilco to be spiritual channelers of the oldest and most traditional American texts -- the stories that helped shape our country and how we see ourselves..."

read more (article includes links to audio and video excerpts)

posted November 14, 2006

Elvis Costello and Roseanne Cash will perform on Letterman, 11/10/06

On next Friday’s Late Show With David Letterman (airing at 11:30PM on KCBS Channel 2) Elvis Costello & Roseanne Cash will perform “The Butcher Boy” from our very own Harry Smith Project!

Also, check out tonight’s show with Kinky Friedman!

Both shows will be available online after airing at: http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/

posted November 3, 2006

"Our Roots Are Showing": Newsweek review by Brian Braiker

"Old-timey never sounded so timely..." read more

posted November 1, 2006

Extended preview at The Celestial Monochord, a website devoted to the lineage of the Anthology songs

"Smith's Anthology and the lessons it taught shaped the revivals that followed it and defined the careers of some of the best musicians of the late 20th Century..." read more

posted October 31, 2006

"Spooky Ballads from the old America": Newark Star-Ledger review by Bradley Bambarger

"Smith's meticulously programmed set of archaic ballads, social music, blues and early country songs recorded from 1927 to 1932 helped seed the '60s folk movement, with Bob Dylan just one of the young singer/songwriters inspired by the sounds and stories. The 1997 CD reissue of Smith's "Anthology" helped feed another roots music boom..." read more

posted October 31, 2006

Hal Willner on Air America

Hear Hal Willner on Steve Earle's Air America show, "Start the Revolution" discussing the Harry Smith Project.
Original air date: Sunday, 10/22 from 10-11 pm EST (XM Satellite Radio).

Earle, who performs "Prison Cell Blues" from Smith's original anthology, spins tracks and chats with Willner, who set up the series of tribute concerts that comprise the material on the box set.

Listen to the show

posted October 31, 2006

Pitchfork News (with streaming audio)

"As previously reported, renowned musicologist and filmmaker Harry Smith gets the box set tribute treatment later this month with the October 24 release of The Harry Smith Project: Anthology of American Folk Music Revisited. The four-disc CD/DVD set collects turn-of-the- millennium performances by Wilco, Beck, Sonic Youth, Lou Reed, and more covering tunes from Smith's seminal 1952 folk music anthology..." read more

posted October 30, 2006

Mention in Lisa Robinson's Vanity Fair "Hot Tracks" column

Read here.

posted October 30, 2006