Sights & Sounds

Mark Campbell and Barrow Wheary and Isaac Akers

The early folk song collecting expeditions of Cecil Sharp and others informed the rest of America about the remarkable breadth of fiddle tunes in southern Appalachia, many of which closely …

Sights & Sounds

Kathy Coleman and Callie McCarty

When the American Folklore Society was established in 1901, a critical part of its stated mission was to document the “oral literature” of the southern Appalachian Mountains, as this region …

Sights & Sounds

Moges Seyoum and Bililign Mandefro

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the oldest of all Eastern Christianities. A defining characteristic of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the elaborate singing or chanting which takes place often for …

Sights & Sounds

Frank Newsome and Buster Mullins

The singing of the Old Regular Baptists is one of the oldest and deepest veins of American spiritual singing traditions. This hymnody, with elaborate, lined-out, unaccompanied singing is prevalent throughout …

Sights & Sounds

Herschel Sizemore and Spencer Blankenship

The mandolin was introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants in the 19th century, and was popularized by Bill Monroe, who featured the instrument as a cornerstone of his …

Sights & Sounds

Scott Fore and Cheryl Lunsford

The guitar was primarily used as a rhythm instrument in the United States until the late 1930s. As more and more guitar players began to play lead breaks on the …

Sights & Sounds

The Madison Hummingbirds and the “Rookies”

In 1903, an African-Portuguese immigrant named Marcelino Manoel de Graca (Charles Manuel Grace), the son of a stonecutter from the Cape Verdean Island of Brava, came to the southeastern Massachusetts …

Sights & Sounds

Thornton Spencer and Martha Spencer

The early song collecting journeys of folklorists informed the rest of America about the remarkable breadth of fiddle tunes in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, many of which closely resembled …

Sights & Sounds

Elton Williams and Earl Sawyer

The steel drum, or “pan” as it is called in the Caribbean, was invented in Trinidad about the time of World War II. Afro-Trinidadians resourcefully crafted this musical instrument out …

Sights & Sounds

John Cephas and Marc Pessar

While perhaps not as well known as the Mississippi Delta style, Virginia has long been home to its own style of blues—the Piedmont Blues. And, just as it is in …

Sights & Sounds

Olen Gardner and Ross Matthews

The Folklife Apprenticeship Program includes various styles of banjo playing, so it was a natural fit to add one in banjo making, along with the invaluable skill of vintage instrument …

Sights & Sounds

Gerald Anderson and Spencer Strickland

Southwest Virginia has always had a rich tradition of luthiers—the builders of stringed, fretted instruments, and mandolin maker Gerald Anderson is considered among today’s true masters. Gerald spent more than …