Song Resources

There are tons of folk resource indexes online. Our lists are by no means comprehensive. This page contains the following sections:

Online Audio ArchivesPodcasts & StreamingVideos Text & Musical NotationWhere to Buy Source RecordingsOrganizations & CommunitiesBooks About Singing

Online Audio Archives

Historical collections of source recordings. These are source recordings of singers who we might consider "tradition bearers." Try them out if you want to learn or listen to some old folk songs or old singing styles.

  • Digital Archive Streamer — Virtual radio station of music archives. Streaming tool that searches several online archive at once and makes playlists. Great for easy listening and new discoveries. Includes Sacred Harp, Lomax recordings, HonkingDuck collection of 78 rpm records, and more.
  • Digital Library of Appalachia — "Several thousand non-commercial sound recordings that document much of Appalachian music's geographic, ethnic, vocal, and instrumental diversity."
  • Max Hunter Collection — "Archive of almost 1600 Ozark Mountain folk songs, recorded between 1956 and 1976." Great collection.
  • Traditional Adirondack Music — Streaming mp3s of old singers from the North Woods.
  • British Library Archival Sound Recordings, World and Traditional Music — Ethnographic collections predominantly from Africa, South Asia, and Australasia.
  • Juneberry — Early American roots music. Huge collection of music from the 1920s and on. Many genres of early US folk as well as Cape Breton, Calypso, Irish...
  • Irish Traditional Music Archive, Sound recordings — ITMA is "a national public reference archive and resource centre for the traditional song, instrumental music and dance of Ireland."
  • Songs of Atlantic Canada — Collected by MacEdward Leach. Includes songs from Cape Breton and Newfoundland.
  • Museum of Canadian Music, Folklore section — Free mp3s. “The only private Music Museum in Canada [whose] purpose is to collect and catalogue and document every Canadian recording, in all of their variations.
  • Alan Lomax's Sound Recordings — Epic collection of folk music from many parts of the US as well as areas of the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. Includes video recordings and many research resources. Digitized and preserved by the Association for Cultural Equity.

Podcasts & Streaming

The best of folk radio from the US and beyond, available on demand right from your computer.

  • Sugar in the Gourd — Old Time from all times, with a bit of genre crossover now and then.
  • Folk Alley — "Folk, traditional, Celtic, and world music with 24-hour streaming from 89.7 WKSU, Kent State University. Includes information on featured artists." (low traditional content)
  • FolkCast — British, new and old, varying tastes.
  • A Folk Song A Day — Jon Boden sings a song a day for a year. Compiled once a month into podcasts purchasable through iTunes. Includes background on the songs.
  • NPR Podcasts — Music section includes old-time, bluegrass, blues, celtic, and country music from partner stations nationwide.
  • BBC Radio 2, Folk & Acoustic — British radio show by Mike Harding featuring "an impeccable selection of the best in folk, roots and acoustic music."
  • CBC Radio 2, Concerts on Demand — Concerts aired on Canadian radio, filterable by genre.
  • Andreas' Trad & Folk Radio Links — Many of the radio sites include streaming or podcasts.

Videos

  • Folk Streams — "A national preserve of documentary films about American roots cultures, streamed with essays about the traditions and filmmaking. Includes transcriptions, study and teaching guides, suggested readings, and links to related websites."
  • Shanties from the Seven Seas — Hulton Clint's recordings of the works found in Stan Hugel's canonical collection.

Text & Musical Notation

  • Take Six — Searchable database of the archives of six of the UK's most prominent folksong collectors. From CDSS's sister organization, EFDSS.
  • Duke University Library Sheet Music Collections — Index of online collections of sheet music, including folk collections.
  • Andreas' Songs & Ballads Link List — Traditional songs, folksongs and ballads from Germany, France, England, Britanny, Ireland, Scotland as well as from North America and other regions.
  • Australian Folk Songs — Lyrics, notation, artists and publications. Extensive links to Australian and other English-language resources.

Where to Buy Source Recordings

Of course there are many places to buy folk label recordings online. Here are a few of our favorites.

Organizations & Communities

  • FolkLib Index of Folk Music Societies — By location; includes the US and Canada, plus a smattering of other countries.
  • Mudcat Cafe — Digital Tradition Folk Song Database. Has a Forum to request/discuss lyrics or other questions, and a search tool to look up song texts. Includes midi sound files. Many CDSS members who sing are mudcatters, and there's also a strong following in England, so it's helpful in outreach and networking.
  • Sacred Harp and Shape Note singing — All things Shape Note.
  • Sing Out — Another hub for social singing resources and publications.

Books About Singing

  • Henscratches and Flyspecks: How To Read Melodies From Songbooks In Twelve Confusing Lessons. By Pete Seeger. New York: Berkeley Books, 1973.
    [available via worldcat, Amazon, half.com]
  • The Incompleat Folksinger. By Pete Seeger, edited by Jo Metcalf Schwartz. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972.
    [available via worldcat, Amazon, half.com]