Smithsonian Institution Will Feature Armenian Culture in 2018 Folklife Festival


The Smithsonian Institution plans to feature Armenian Culture in the 2018

Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., according to Smithsonian Institution Director of International Relations Molly Fannon in an interview with Voice of America Armenian service.


During the interview, Fannon spoke about Armenia’s rich cultural heritage, as well as the Armenian people’s lifestyle, oral stories, dance, and food. She noted that the Smithsonian Institution wants to help develop Armenia’s cultural sector by linking it to tourism, and create new jobs in cultural tourism. According to Fannon, their respective objective is to bring new tourists to Armenia, who will spend most of their time outside the capital city of Yerevan, and get familiarized with the Armenian folk cultural heritage.

The working theme for the 2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival is “creative and cultural industries.” Currently, discussions are underway about participation of artisans from Armenia, among other countries.

The Smithsonian Institute has previously featured Armenian culture and music in past festivals. Last month, Armenian bands Armenian Public Radio and TmbaTa performed at the 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., promoting the “My Armenia” project. Last year, the Smithsonian Institution launched the U.S. sponsored “My Armenia” project in collaboration with the Government of Armenia in order to preserve Armenian culture and encourage more tourism. This project plans to digitize—in 3D format—the masterpieces of Armenian culture and history.

Armenian Bands Performing at Smithsonian Folklife Festival


On July 7-8, Armenian bands Armenian Public Radio and TmbaTa will be performing at the 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. 

This concert is sponsored by the “My Armenia” program, a joint partnership between USAID, the Smithsonian, and Armenia.


  • Thursday, July 7 from 11:45 AM to 12:30 PM, Sounds of California Stage & Plaza
  • Thursday, July 7 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM, Ralph Rinzler Concert Stage 
  • Friday, July 8, from 1:15 PM to 2:00 PM, Sounds of California Stage & Plaza

This year the Folklife Festival celebrates resilient communities around the world, with a program titled Sounds of California, where the Armenian bands will be feautred. The members of Armenian Public Radio grew up in the musically vibrant diaspora communities in Southern California. During the evening concert, Armenian Public Radio is joined by members of TmbaTa, a youth orchestra from Yerevan, Armenia, based at the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies.

Armenian Public Radio’s members grew up in California as children of families who emigrated from Western Armenia to Syria and Lebanon before coming to the United States. Living in a musically vibrant Armenian diaspora, these artists reinterpret the Armenian music of their childhood in an innovative and enthusiastic style. Armenian Public Radio chooses their songs from a broad mix of genres and all songs are sung in Armenian.

Led by Arik Grigoryan of The Bambir, TmbaTa performs original compositions based on traditional Armenian folk songs combined with rock and experimental music. The group is comprised of thirty teens who learn all stages of music creation including composition, performance, recording, mixing, and mastering. Tumo Center for Creative Technologies is an innovative after-school program where thousands of students aged twelve to eighteen are in charge of their own learning. Tumo is a partner in the Smithsonian’s My Armenia project.