Airing: April 3, 2020

Coming Up: Music Matters

A late 1700s painting called The Old Plantation, depicting African slaves playing music and dancing. It’s the earliest known American painting to picture a banjo-like instrument. Image source: Public Domain Mark 1.0

We all know that teenagers would rather die than hang out with their parents, right? Not so, says Jon Lohman (Virginia Folklife). The Old Fiddlers Convention in Galax, Virginia, brings young and old together to share traditions and songs. But how are musicians faring now, during the coronavirus crisis?
Plus: The studio comes alive with song when Stephen Rockenbach (Virginia State University) and Gregg Kimball (Library of Virginia) bring their banjos in to share the instrument’s storied history in America. They reflect on how the banjo’s transformation has affected song styles to this day.

Later in the show: When the first settlers came to America from England and Scotland they brought with them a rich tradition of ballad-singing. Cece Conway (Virginia Humanities Fellow) traces the singing families and their songs from the UK to the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, where they influenced modern performers from Joan Baez to the Carolina Chocolate Drops.





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