The Chris Strachwitz Collection

Chris Strachwitz

As founder of both Arhoolie Records and the Arhoolie Foundation, Chris Strachwitz has been collecting, documenting, recording, and promoting regional roots music for over 60 years.

In addition to recording hundreds of albums for Arhoolie Records (now owned and distributed by Smithsonian Folkways), he has taken over 25,000 photographs and hundreds of hours of video, corresponded with legendary recording artists, scholars, promoters, and fans, conducted dozens of rare recorded interviews, and collected all manner of ephemera.

Strachwitz has donated much of his collection to the Arhoolie Foundation. We will continue to digitally preserve this rare and invaluable personal archive, and share with you here what we can.

Statement on the passing of Chris Strachwitz

Arhoolie Records Founder
July 1, 1931 – May 5, 2023

We celebrate the life of our founder, friend, and great record man Chris Strachwitz. He died peacefully at home in Marin County, CA, surrounded in his last days by dear friends and family. Over his 91 years, Chris captured the music that represents the best “down home music” the world has to offer.

He was at the forefront of nearly all the roots revivals over the last 60 years including blues, zydeco, Cajun, Norteño and Tejano music. His drive to document traditional music helped introduce the nation to our diverse musical heritage. He had the foresight to save music that might have otherwise been lost to obscurity and played a role in strengthening cultural traditions through his records, films, and most recently the Arhoolie Foundation. He cared for those around him, fought for royalties and recognition for Arhoolie artists, and provided counsel to countless musicians, writers, film makers, and academics.

Plans for a public celebration of his life will be announced in the coming weeks. Today we’re thinking of all that Chris brought to our lives and the lives of the musicians and fans with whom he shared his passion.