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First release of all-new material from "First Lady of Children’s Music” since 1999 teaches appreciation of diverse cultures and languages

On November 25, 2003, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings released Sharing Cultures with Ella Jenkins, the first album of all-new material since 1999 from a beloved performer known as the "First Lady of Children’s Music.” Jenkins has been at the forefront of music for children for over 50 years, and is Smithsonian Folkways’ all-time best-selling artist. On Sharing Cultures, Jenkins and a group of children from the LaSalle Language Academy of Chicago perform songs from a diverse list of nations and cultures, including Mexico, Ireland, Turkey, Russia, and more, celebrating their languages and traditions.

Jenkins elaborates on the album’s premise in the liner notes. "We, as a universe, if we care to survive, must learn to share the earth in a more friendly fashion,” she writes. "Sharing and respecting one another’s cultures is one route to reaching that goal.”

With the LaSalle Academy students and musicians Juan Díes (guitar), Catherine Hall (vocals, traditional Irish folk instruments), Erwin Helfer (piano), and Christian Smith (viola), Jenkins provides a wide-ranging primer on world cultures through both original songs and centuries-old folk music. The record begins with "Where is Mary?,” an original song that teaches Spanish with alternating English lines. Also featured are the Fiji poem "Dear Sir, I Cannot Go,” the Jewish song "Hine Matov,” an original composition that teaches about a variety of Native American tribes, a series of traditional Irish songs, the blues classic "Pine Top’s Boogie,” and more.

A remarkable educator and entertainer, Ella Jenkins released her first LP on Folkways Records in 1957 and has inspired generations with her music for over 40 years. A legendary figure in children’s music, she has appeared with Mr. Rogers and Barney and received dozens of awards including the 1999 ASCAP Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. Her classic ‘You’ll Sing a Song and I’ll Sing a Song’ is the best-selling record in the history of Folkways Records. At age 75, Jenkins travels constantly giving seminars, workshops, and concerts. On November 6, Jenkins will be presented with a Chicago Heroes Award by the Chicago chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The award is the chapter’s highest honor.

NOTE: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings retail distribution in the United States is through KOCH Entertainment at 516.484.1000. SFW releases are available from record and book outlets, mail order, and the Internet. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, as well as the original Cook, Dyer-Bennet, Fast Folk, Folkways, Monitor, and Paredon collections, are available via mail order at 800.410.9815 or via the Internet. Visit Smithsonian Folkways' web site at

U.S. print media inquiries: Matt Hanks, or Mark Satlof, Shore Fire Media,, or 718.522.7171.

Radio & Promotional inquiries: Mark Gustafson, Shore Fire Media, or 202.275.1156

Sales & Marketing inquiries: John Smith, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, or 206.568.8144