Sights & Sounds

Mongolian Contortion: The Art of Bending

Many of the traditions on display at the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Showcase date back centuries in Virginia, but others are deeply established art forms that are new to this country, …

Sights & Sounds

Cora Harvey Armstrong and Samantha Willis

Faith is at the heart of Cora Harvey Armstrong’s 50-year career in gospel music. Born and raised in the tiny Newtown community of King and Queen County, Virginia, her family …

Sights & Sounds

Mandkhai Erdembat and Ella and Emma Chuluunbat

Mongolian contortion has existed since the 12th century as a dance called Uran Nugaralt, which translates to artistic bending. This kind of dance was prominent in the royal palaces of …

Sights & Sounds

Nam Phuong Nguyen and Anh Dien Ky Nguyen

The đàn bầu is a monochord (one-stringed) instrument with a central role in Vietnamese folk music. Popular legend claims the đàn bầu was first played by a blind woman in a …

Sights & Sounds

Jeff Bennett and Jeremy Bennett

Ever since the automobile went into mass production by the assembly lines of Detroit, it has been revised, altered, elaborated, and reconstructed in small garages and car shops throughout America. …

Sights & Sounds

Phyllis Gaskins and Anna Stockdale

The regular mountain dulcimer is a fretted string instrument from the zither family which first appeared in the 19th century among Scots-Irish communities. Phyllis Gaskins, of Elkton, Virginia, plays a variant called the Galax dulcimer. …

Sights & Sounds

Sondus Asad Moussa and Sanaa Abdul Jalil

Despite a population of just over 50,000, Harrisonburg is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse cities in  Virginia. Today, the Harrisonburg–Rockingham County community includes refugees and immigrants from …

Sights & Sounds

Bert Carlson and Danny Knicely

While Virginia is seldom thought of a fertile ground for jazz, the state has produced a disproportionate number of artists who have put their indelible stamp on this uniquely American …

Sights & Sounds

Chris Prillaman and Tanner Talley

Franklin County is famous for its long history of producing and selling moonshine, or homemade liquor. Virginia colonists were distilling corn whiskey—boiling a fermented mash of milled grain and then …

Sights & Sounds

Passing on Quechua culture in Virginia

By Violeta Palchik As I chat with Julia Garcia, or Mama Julia as she is known, she lays out the intricate web making up the spiritual culture of indigenous Bolivian …

Sights & Sounds

Baklava as Art

By Theresa Kubasak “I love making baklava… It’s art!” Sondus Moussa sets up her wooden board, positions a warm pan of clarified butter and sniffs a mixture of ground nuts, …

Sights & Sounds

Feed Your Soul: Another Epic Richmond Folk Festival

Photo highlights from the 2017 Richmond Folk Festival, we kept our promise to “Feed Your Soul!”

Sights & Sounds

Rahim AlHaj in Harrisonburg

While visiting and performing in Harrisonburg, National Heritage Award-winner Rahim AlHaj was able to share his love of music with school children, musicians and the robust refugee community here.

Sights & Sounds

2017 Apprenticeship Showcase Photo Recap

Photos from the 2017 Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Showcase.

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.