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

Sandra Bennett and Linda Wright

An appreciation of Appalachian fiber arts has often been hindered by stereotypical images of Appalachia as a poverty-stricken region, where women had to make every article of clothing and bedding …

Sights & Sounds

Tom Van Nortwick and Andrew Elder

Tom Van Nortwick of Franklin County is Virginia’s master of pinstriping, the precise application by hand of a thin line of paint to create designs on auto body panels. Tom …

Sights & Sounds

Bob Cage and Jim Crawford

For more than a century, million of pounds of some of the highest-grade cigarette tobacco in the world have been grown by farmers in what has been called Virginia’s “Old …

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

Charles McRaven and Willie Lehmann and Daniel Malcolm

Charles “Mac” McRaven has been building with stone, log, and hewn logs since he was eleven years old. His parents built their homes in the 1940s with the help of …

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

George Butler and Warner Rice

The story of Reedville, Virginia, is linked to the commercial fishing industry that developed late in the nineteenth century. From this tiny fisherman’s town located between the Potomac and Rappahannock …

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 …

Apply for an Apprenticeship

Virginia Folklife Apprenticeships will begin on May 1, 2020 and run through May 1, 2021. The application deadline for this cycle is January 31, 2020.