Virginia Folklife Program

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

Folklife FieldNotes

Folklife FieldNotes was a public radio series featuring the sound-rich archive recordings of Virginia's State Folklorist to showcase the stories of Virginia's traditional artists.

The Old Jimmy Sutton

The Old Jimmy Sutton

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A masterful songster recorded by two folklorists, fifty years apart. When the late folklorist Alan Lomax set out on his now infamous “Southern Journey” in 1959, he stopped in Chilhowie, Virginia to record a tobacco farmer named Spencer Moore.   Spencer was quite well known locally for his weekly appearances on the “Farm Fun Time” radio […]

Flory Jagoda

Flory Jagoda

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“Don’t open your mouth. Just sit and play. Keep on playing.” Flory Jagoda (photo right) sings songs she learned from her nona (grandmother) as a child in pre-WWII Sarajevo – songs which have been passed down in her family since they fled the Spanish Inquisition in 1492.  All of her ballads are sung in Ladino, […]

Acoustic Youth

Acoustic Youth

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Many of the musicians who perform at fiddler’s conventions and music festivals throughout southern Appalachia are, in fact, young kids. Late in the night, long past their bedtimes, children and teenagers can be found jamming alongside seasoned musicians at festivals.  Sometimes, it’s the youngest in the circle that is leading with a solo and pushing […]

The Paschall Brothers and Tidewater Gospel Quartets

The Paschall Brothers and Tidewater Gospel Quartets

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A Virginia-based a cappella quartet earned the “gospel album of the year” award at the 2009 Independent Music Awards. The Paschall Brothers of Chesapeake sing four-part harmony in a style with a storied tradition. Virginia State Folklorist Jon Lohman has more. See video of the Paschall Brothers performing as part of the 2009 Richmond Folklife […]

Breaking Up Christmas

Breaking Up Christmas

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When Christmas is over, the fun is just getting started for many in Southern Appalachia. The tradition of “Breaking Up Christmas” is a week-long series of gatherings, where people get together in each other’s homes and jam until the wee hours of the morning. Many generations participate, and it’s a really wonderful way for the […]