The Passion of Chris Strachwitz

The Passion of Chris Strachwitz

passionofchrisstrachwitz copy20190906_2

Chris Strachwitz is a man possessed. “El Fanatico,” Ry Cooder calls him. A song catcher, dedicated to recording the traditional, regional, down home music of America, his adopted home after his family left Germany at the close of WWII. Mance Lipscomb, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Big Mama Thornton, Clifton Chenier, Rose Maddox, Flaco Jimenez… the list is long and mighty.

Chris Strachwitz is a keeper. His vault is jam-packed with 78s, 33s, 45s, reel-to-reels, cassettes, videos, photographs — an archive of all manner of recordings. And an avalanche of lifetime achievement awards — from the Grammy’s, The Blues Hall of Fame, The National Endowment for the Arts – for some 60 years of recording and preserving the musical cultural heritage of this nation through his label, Arhoolie Records.

For The Big Pond, The Kitchen Sisters Present… the never-ending Passion of Chris Strachwitz.

Featuring interviews with Linda Ronstadt and Bonnie Raitt.



Most of the music in this podcast is from the Arhoolie Records catalog now housed at The Smithsonian Institution and available from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and at record stores (including Down Home Music) and all online platforms.

Special thanks: Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Adam Machado & The Arhoolie Foundation, Arhoolie Records, Maureen Gosling & Chris Simon, Janet Stark, John Boylan, Annie Heller-Gutwillig, Brooke Wentz & Sharath Jana, KPFA-FM At Smithsonian Folkways: Huib Schippers, William Griffin & Jonathan Wiliger. At The Big Pond / Goethe Institut: Verena Hutter, Savanah Beck, Dario Radisic & William Gilcher And to Chris Strachwitz, who lights the path.


The Passion of Chris Strachwitz was produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva) with Nathan Dalton & Brandi Howell and mixed by Jim McKee for The Big Pond and The Kitchen Sisters Present…

Photo of Linda Ronstadt, circa 1970, by Henry Diltz
Photo of Bonnie Raitt and Mississippi Fred McDowell, 1970, Courtesy of Estate of David Gahr
Photo of Chris Strachwitz & the Treme Brass Band, 2011 by Mike Melnyk, courtesy The Arhoolie Foundation