Friday, September 18, 2009

On the Road Again: The Appalachian Heritage Festival at Frostburg, MD

I'll be on the road to Frostburg, Maryland tomorrow to tell stories at the Appalachian Heritage Festival with my friend and fellow blogger Ellouise Schoettler, and also with storyteller Katie Ross and her banjo-picking husband Otto.

Tall tales are on the menu, so it should be a fine old time.

Click here for festival information on the Frostburg State webpage. Storytelling is in the Chapel from 1:30-3:00 pm.

The evening concert features Jean Ritchie:

(from the webpage)
Jean Ritchie and Family
8 PM • Historic Palace Theatre • Main St., Frostburg
Winner of a 2002 National Heritage Award from the National Endowment for the Arts,
the country’s highest honor in the Folk and Traditional Arts, the legendary Jean Ritchie
has been delighting audiences for more than 50 years. Her songs have been recorded by
Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and many more. In concert, Ritchie opens the
door on the music of the Kentucky mountains.

The youngest daughter of 14 children, Ritchie grew up in the Cumberland mountains
of Kentucky, learning traditional tunes, songs and stories from her close-knit family
and eventually performing those at her county fair in Hazard. In the 1930s Ritchie’s
family, the Singing Ritchies, was recorded by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress.
After graduating from college in the mid-1940s, Ritchie found herself in New York,
where she soon became swept up in the early Folk Revival Movement, becoming friends
and colleagues of musicians Pete Seeger, Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie and many others.
Recognizing the value of her family traditions, Ritchie took the stage once more. By
1949 she’d become a regular of Oscar Brand’s Folksong Festival.

Perhaps her greatest mark on traditional music is the one she’s made on the popularity
of the Appalachian mountain dulcimer. Having learned to play as a child, the mountain
dulcimer is her instrument of choice. With her husband, George Pickow, the two have
crafted and sold hundreds of dulcimers. And Ritchie has authored several instructional
and tune books on the instrument and released multiple recordings featuring the

The value and volume of her work as a musician and a collector of traditional ballads and
songs has earned her the title, the “Mother of Folk.” Today, Ritchie is often joined by her
sons who are passing on their family’s musical traditions to future generations.

So will I be there? You bet! I hope to see some of you tomorrow too.


Susan at Stony River said...

Jean Ritchie? Holy cow, I'd've loved to seen her. Last year I posted about the fellowship named for her; the deadline's in the spring I think.

The Frostburg event sounds wonderful; I hope it went well!

Janet, said...

Sounds like you are going to have a lot of fun on Saturday. Andrew and I have been scrubbing down the front of the house all day (Saturday). It sure is good to get rid of all those spiders and waspers behind the shutters, though.

Granny Sue said...

It was amazing, Susan. I'll write about it later. She's such a great lady in every sense of the phrase.

I think we had more fun than you, Janet :) although getting the house clean before winter is a good idea.

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