The Passion of Chris Strachwitz

The Passion of Chris Strachwitz

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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

Passamaquoddy Cylinder Recordings #KeeperoftheDay

Passamaquoddy Cylinder Recordings #KeeperoftheDay


“Some of the oldest audio recordings in the world have been digitally restored and returned to the descendants of the people who made them, the Passamaquoddy tribe of eastern Maine. Now younger members of the tribe are learning songs and stories once thought to be forever lost.”

Listen to “Historic Recordings Revitalize Language For Passamaquoddy Tribal Members” from NPR’s All Things Considered.

Latino Public Radio Consortium #KeeperoftheDay

Latino Public Radio Consortium #KeeperoftheDay


#KeeperoftheDay – Latino Public Radio Consortium, an affiliate of the Library of Congress Radio Preservation Task Force.

Here is a clip with astronaut Jose Hernandez from the Historias de Si Se Puede series: “sixty-second radio stories about immigrants and second generation Latinos, who through persistent struggle have found success in music, the professions, politics, community involvement, and are now an inspiration to countless others.”

Pacifica Radio Archives #KeeperoftheDay

Pacifica Radio Archives #KeeperoftheDay


#KeeperoftheDay – Pacifica Radio Archives an affiliate of the Library of Congress Radio Preservation Task Force. “Chronicling the political, cultural and artistic movements of the second half of the 20th century.”

Here’s a gem from the archive. A 1956 interview with Rosa Parks.

Episode Title: Commentary of a Black Southern busrider / Rosa Parks
Series Title: Commentary by Sidney Roger
PRA Archive #: BB0566
Description: Discussion of Rosa Park’s refusal to give up her seat to a white man and the resulting bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. The interview was conducted by Sidney Rogers with Rosa Parks in 1956.
Station: KPFA
Date Recorded on: April 1956.
Date Broadcast on: KPFA, 20 Dec. 1962.
Item duration: 1 reel (16 min.) : 7 1/2 ips, mono.|16:30
Keywords: These terms will not bring up a complete list of all items in our catalog associated with this subject. Click here to search our entire catalog.
Roger, Sidney.
Blacks — Civil rights.
Protests, demonstrations, vigils, etc. — Montgomery (Ala.).
African Americans–Civil rights–History
Roger, Sydney
Parks, Rosa, 1913-2005
Contributor: Sidney Roger
Role: Host
Distributor: Los Angeles : Pacifica Radio Archive, 1962.

Kitchen Sisters Interviewing, Recording & Podcasting Workshop

Kitchen Sisters Interviewing, Recording & Podcasting Workshop


Time again for The Kitchen Sisters Interviewing, Recording & Podcasting Workshop. Davia Nelson is holding two workshops on Monday, September 16th in Francis Coppola’s historic Zoetrope building in San Francisco. This three-hour session is designed for those who want to acquire and hone their skills for an array of audio projects — podcasts, radio, online stories, storytelling, oral histories, family histories, news, documentaries and other multimedia platforms.

We cover interviewing and miking techniques, sound gathering, original, imaginative story structure, use of archival audio, field recording techniques, recording equipment, how to make interviewees comfortable, how to frame evocative questions that make for compelling storytelling, how to build a story, how to find your voice and how to listen (which is harder than it looks). We also talk podcasting. Serious talk about getting your podcast going and giving it a real sound.

The workshop is customized to fit the projects you are working on. People who have attended in the past have come from radio, film, multimedia, detective agencies, podcasting, newspapers, journalism, photography, oral history, historical societies, farms, music, ophthalmology, writing, libraries, archives, beer brewing, web design, restaurants, health care organizations, film, cheese-making and beyond. The groups are always lively and good contacts are made.

Sign up for one session on the 16th, whatever time works best for you.

Morning Workshop: 10:00 – 1:00pm
Afternoon Workshop: 2:00 – 5:00 pm

Cost: $160.00

Tickets available through our friends at Eventbrite.

The workshop is in North Beach at 916 Kearny St. Of course, snacks will be served.

Expand your skills, meet new people, support the work of The Kitchen Sisters.


Hip-Hop Radio Archive #KeeperoftheDay

Hip-Hop Radio Archive #KeeperoftheDay


#KeeperoftheDay – Hip-Hop Radio Archive, an affiliate of the Library of Congress Radio Preservation Task Force.

“The Hip-Hop Radio Archive aims to digitize, preserve, share, and contextualize recordings of hip-hop radio from the 1980s and 1990s from commercial, college, community, and pirate stations of all sizes, telling the stories of the shows and the people that made them.

“In 1981, Mr. Magic (RIP) launched Rap Attack on WHBI in New York City which, when it moved to WBLS in May of 1982, became the first hip-hop show on commercial radio. Throughout the 1980s, countless other hip-hop shows sprung up in New York, from Red Alert and Chuck Chillout on KISS FM to Marley Marl on WBLS. Tapes of these early hip-hop radio shows became currency among hip-hop fans both inside and outside the reach of New York City’s radio signals. Before national video shows and the Internet, radio was the way recorded hip-hop spread.”

Check out to this 1986 clip from Mr. Magic’s Rap Attack:

American Archive of Public Broadcasting #KeeperoftheDay

American Archive of Public Broadcasting #KeeperoftheDay


#KeeperoftheDay – American Archive of Public Broadcasting, an affiliate of the Library of Congress Radio Preservation Task Force.

Listen to a clip from their holdings below featuring civil rights activist Catherine Burks-Brooks from the 1963 radio documentary, Birmingham: Testament of Nonviolence. Producing organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters / The Riverside Church in the City of New York (WRVR-FM).

Explore this vast archive at

Radio Preservation Task Force #KeeperoftheDay

Radio Preservation Task Force #KeeperoftheDay


Josh Shepperd, Director of the Radio Preservation Task Force at the Library of Congress called The Keeper Hotline to tell us about this incredible undertaking.

“Radio history is pretty endangered and it turns out to be one of the largest and unexplored and unpreserved archives in the United States…”

“All American” by Laura Karpman #KeeperoftheDay

“All American” by Laura Karpman #KeeperoftheDay


“History forgot these female composers. An L.A. music writer is helping us remember.” –Los Angeles Times, 08.21.19

Read about “All American” the latest piece from composer Laura Karpman (who we collaborated with on “Hidden World of Girls: Stories for Orchestra”) that premiered last night at the Hollywood Bowl.

“I don’t want to call it a conspiracy, because I don’t think it’s done on purpose, but there is this falling away of women artists and artists of color that needs to stop and be corrected,” says composer Laura Karpman.

History may have forgotten many of them, she says, but women and people of color have always composed music.

In what she calls a “small little act of course correction,” Karpman is premiering an overture Thursday night at the Hollywood Bowl that incorporates melodic snippets from patriotic songs by [Anita] Owen and two other early 20th century American female composers, Mildred Hill and Emily Wood Bower.

Read more.

Burning Man Archive #KeeperoftheDay

Burning Man Archive #KeeperoftheDay


#KeeperoftheDay – The Burning Man Archive. On the latest episode of The Kitchen Sisters Present… we take a journey into the archives of this legendary gathering…