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Saturday, September 17
FSU Main Campus, Upper Quad
11:00 AM Appalachian Step Dance Demo
Becky Hill will present an overview of traditional vernacular step dance forms found within the southern Appalachian region, and will demonstrate those stylistic forms to live music. She will discuss and show ethnic influences, regional differences and individual dance steps as an expression of regional values. She will discuss the importance of dance within communities. Becky Hill has studied traditional Dance forms under Rhythm in Shoes and Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble. She has performed at the Newport Folk Festival, the Augusta Heritage Center and Wheatland Music Festival. She recently graduated from Davis & Elkins College where she was instrumental in starting the school’s traditional dance team. Becky has won numerous dance competitions including first place in 2008, 2010, and 2011 at the prestigious old-time music festival at Clifftop.
12:00 PM Fiddling Traditions Appalachia’s Mid Atlantic Region
Gerald Milnes will present an overview of West Virginia and western Maryland fiddling traditions and tunes while discussing and demonstrating regional styles and influences. He will present examples of the huge body of folklore that surrounds the fiddle as an instrument and the oral traditions found within regional repertoires and about individuals. Theories about German influences on the music and culture will be discussed, an area where little study has been done, and he will discuss other European and African influences.
Gerald Milnes is the Folk Arts Coordinator at the Augusta Heritage Center where he produces recordings and films concerning traditional music and folklife in West Virginia. He has been collecting traditional fiddle music there for 40 years. He has performed and lectured about traditional music throughout the country and in England and has coordinated Appalachian music workshops at the Augusta Heritage Center for 25 years. His book about West Virginia traditional music, “Play of a Fiddle” was published by the University Press of Kentucky.
1:00 PM Appalachian Dance Workshop With the Barnstormers and RockCandy Cloggers
Bring your hard-soled shoes and learn the basic steps of Appalachian flat footing. The RockCandy cloggers are experienced instructors, having taught and performed regionally and internationally. Traditionally, many of the tunes that became or remained popular in Appalachia and the U.S. were dance tunes. Audience participation is expected. All skills are welcome!
2:00 PM Foreign Sounds Rendered Familiar: Exploring Connections between Old Time and Irish Music with Buffalo in the Castle
Traveling from Ireland to perform as the capstone entertainers for the FSU Appalachian Festival, the world renowned members of Buffalo in the Castle will explore the historic and dynamic connections between American Old-Time Music and Irish Traditional Music. Come join Mairtin O’Connor (button accordion), Desi Wilkinson (flute), Frank Hall (fiddle), and Lena Ullman (banjo) as they discuss and demonstrate the commonalities and divergences of the two traditional musical styles.
3:00 PM African-American Voices From Spirituals to Freedom
Sparky and Rhonda Rucker explore the rich tapestry of folk tradition surrounding the African-American experience – from stories of slavery and the Underground Railroad to songs of the Civil Rights Movement. Sparky and Rhonda deliver an uplifting presentation of toe-tapping music spiced with humor, history and tall tales. They take their audience on an educational and emotional journey that ranges from poignant stories of slavery and war to an amusing rendition of a Brer Rabbit tale or their witty commentaries on current events.
4:00 PM (Re)Exploring the Early Banjo in the 21st Century: Shining Light on the Banjo’s African American and Multicultural Heritage, Greg Adams
Since the 1960s, researchers have been reconnecting the early history of the banjo (ca 1620-1870) with the instrument’s African American and multicultural heritage. A better understanding of historical contexts allows researchers to link surviving instruments, early images, and period descriptions with the banjos development in the 17th century Caribbean through its rise into 19th century American popular music. Yet, much of the primary source material contextualizing this phenomenon is linked with subject matter that reflects America’s changing attitudes about race, ethnicity, slavery, exploitation, and appropriation. Examining the historical circumstances that spurred the banjo’s North American development can serve as a mirror for understanding how the present relates to the past. Such discussions in the 21st century provide an important opportunity to shine light on the banjo’s African American and multicultural history.