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Sunday, March 9, 2014

WTF:Appalachia! with guest host, Jim Smith.

Are we in for a treat! Direct from Mutton Hollow, New York state... well... more accurately... travelling a circuitous route from there to here... 

Guest Host
Mr. JIM SMITH

...will be regaling us with songs, stories and anecdotes from those travels among other things.Jim is an educator, entertainer, multi-instrumentalist, a natural raconnteur and a really nice guy. Just ask Nancy who may be enticed to lend her lovely voice to the mix. 

As always... there will be plenty of time for others to share songs & stories too. The theme though is APPALACHIA. What you need to know is this... 

And pay particular attention to the emboldened words.

APPALACHIA is a cultural region in the eastern United States that stretches from the Southern Tier of New York State to northern Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. While the Appalachian Mountains stretch from Canada to Alabama, the cultural region of Appalachia typically refers only to the central and southern portions of the range.

Since its recognition as a distinctive region in the late 19th century, APPALACHIA has been a source of enduring myths and distortionsregarding the isolation, temperment and behaviour of its inhabitants. Moonshining and clan feuding come to mind. 

While endowed with abundant natural resourcesAPPALACHIA has long struggled with and has been associated with poverty. In the early 20th century, large-scale logging and coal mining firms brought wage-paying jobs and modern amenities to Appalachia, but by the 1960s the region had failed to capitalize on any long-term benefits from these two industries.

APPALACHIAN MUSIC is one of the best-known manifestations of  Appalachian culture. Traditional Appalachian music is derived primarily from the English and Scottish ballad tradition and Irish and Scottish fiddle musicAfrican-American blues musicians played a significant role in developing the instrumental aspects of Appalachian music, most notably with the introduction of the five-stringed banjo— one of the region's iconic symbols— in the late 18th century. Another instrument known in Appalachian culture was the Appalachian dulcimer which, in a practical way, is a guitar shaped instrument laid on its side with a flat bottom and the strings are plucked in a manner to make alternating notes.

In the years following World War I, British folklorist Cecil Sharp brought attention to Southern Appalachia when he noted that its inhabitants still sang hundreds of English and Scottish ballads that had been passed down to them from their ancestors. Commercial recordings of Appalachian musicians in the 1920s would have a significant impact on the development of country music, bluegrass and old-time music. Appalachian music saw a resurgence in popularity during the American folk music revival of the 1960s, when musicologists such as Mike Seeger, John Cohen and Ralph Rinzler travelled to remote parts of the region in search of musicians unaffected by modern music.

So... as you can see... APPALACHIA is much more than just a pretty place. 

WTF! invites you to bring songs and stories that reflect aspects of the Appalachian culture. Maybe an old ballad - the original story song. A fiddle tune or two. We have it on good authority that an actual Appalachian dulcimer player will be there to sing with this lovely instrument. And for the first time ever... WTF! requests and actually welcomes... the dreaded banjo :)
Oh! And if you feel inclined to dress up... (Think... OH BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?) or dress down (Think... DELIVERANCE)... be our guest. You could win a wonderful prize. Or a banjo :)
Get ready to hoot an holler on Friday, March 14.
Margo

WTF! is an artistic outreach program of the Helen Creighton Folklore Society. We meet every second and fourth Friday of the month at CHEBUCTO COFFEE, 6430 Chebucto Road, corner of Chebucto & Kline in Halifax where Mike's extraordinary culinary fare is approaching legendary status. Come early for a bite and stay for the entertainment which starts around 6:30 and goes until 9:00ish. As always... admission is by free-will donation towards the Society's work.

WTF! organised by Cindy Campbell Stone and Margo Carruthers, Helen Creighton Folklore Society.
www.helencreighton.org