A blog sponsored by the Michigan State University Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program, a partnership with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Sharing news and information about the Great Lakes Folk Festival, Quilt Index, the MSU Museum's traditional arts activities, Great Lakes traditional artists and arts resources, and much more. Development of content for this blog supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

#FolkloreThursday: Playlist for Women’s History Month

#FolkloreThursday is a growing community on Twitter where people post all sorts of folklore tidbits every Thursday. MTAP participates in this digital community by using the hashtag #FolkloreThursday to amalgamate relevant folkloric content. You, too, can participate by tagging posts with #FolkloreThursday or searching with the tag.

Music for Women’s History Month
We here at MTAP have put together a playlist for Women’s History Month of awesome Michigan-based women making music.  Women musicians’ contributions to the development of musical styles, genres, techniques and their vast bodies of work are innumerable and to this day often overlooked. Most of the artists included here are affiliated in some way with the Michigan Traditional Arts Program, but some were too influential to leave out.  This is in no way an exhaustive list, so please post your favorites and recommendations in the comments section! 

Alberta Adams


The Meditation Singers
Gospel music

Also check out their version of "A Change Is Gonna Come"


Sarah Ogan Gunning
Appalachian ballad singer and songwriter, labor activist


Julia Mainer



Ellen J. Stekert
Folklorist and folksinger
Stekert wrote an article, "Autobiography of a Woman Folklorist", in which she discusses her experience as a woman in academia. It appears in The Journal of American Folklore Vol. 100, No. 398, Folklore and Feminism (Oct.-Dec. 1987). 


Ruby John 
Fiddler, 2014 Great Lakes Folk Festival Performer


Lois Bettesworth 


Miiskwaasining Nagamojig (Swamp Singers)
Native American women's hand drum group

Also listen to their "Strong Women's Song". Read about their work protecting language, culture, and community here.


Alice Coltrane
Jazz musician and composer


Aretha Franklin
Queen of Soul