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Traditional Music

The Traditional Music Program brings traditional Appalachian music into the daily lives of people by helping communities build and sustain ongoing events such as jam sessions, square dances and storytelling events. The program organizes music and storytelling instruction for youth and adults, residencies, jam sessions, concerts, and radio broadcasts.

 

The mission of the Traditional Music Program is to strengthen and support the infrastructure for traditional Appalachian music, story and dance culture in the Central Appalachian region with an emphasis on communities in southeast Kentucky and southwest Virginia.

Our objectives are:

  • To organize community arts and education programming that teaches the art of traditional Appalachian music, story and dance as well as the history, culture and community of these arts.
  • To encourage and initiate new activity and support ongoing events which broaden the region’s traditional music, storytelling and dance infrastructure.
  • To build local interest in traditional Appalachian music through outreach and arts programming at schools, senior centers, local festivals and regional performance venues.
  • To deepen and broaden traditional music education across the region through the development of curricular and program models for mountain string band instruments, storytelling and square dancing.

 

Radio Broadcasts, Concerts & Festivals

Jim & Ada

Appalshop puts traditional mountain music in the spotlight through old time programming on WMMT Mountain Community Radio, Old Time Days concerts and the Seedtime on the Cumberland Festival. Some of the greatest regional mountain musicians have been presented to local audiences and WMMT radio audiences worldwide via internet broadcast. From Art Stamper to the Dirk Powell & the Foghorn String Band, the Traditional Music Program brings the best of traditional mountain musicians, young and old, into the heart of Central Appalachia and beyond.

Jams, Dances & Storytelling

Masquerade Square Dance band 

The Traditional Music Program brings traditional Appalachian music into the daily lives of people by helping communities build and sustain ongoing events such as jam sessions, square dances and storytelling events. Appalshop is proud to be a part of Central Appalachia's living traditions through its work with the Carcassonne Square Dance—one of the oldest continuing square dances in the country! From October to May Appalshop’s Old Time Jam takes place at 1:00 PM on the first Saturday of each month.

Visiting Masters

Appalshop strives to provide opportunities for people in mountain communities to enjoy and interact with their musical heritage. Throughout the year, the Traditional Music Project brings local and visiting musicians into schools, senior centers, nursing homes, and community centers. Recent visiting masters have included:

Passing the Pick and Bow After-School Program

The Passing the Pick and Bow after-school music education program exemplifies the heart and soul of the Traditional Music Project by putting banjos, fiddles, guitars and mandolins in the hands of nearly 100 students each year. Workshops in storytelling, singing and square dancing are also offered, in addition to monthly square dances, and jams. Twice a year Pick and Bow students gather with kids from across the region for Old Time Days for Youth, a full day of music, storytelling, dancing and old timey games.

Old Time Days Workshops

Donavan - Old Time Banjo Day

For over a decade, Appalshop has offered the Old Time Days workshop and concert series in an effort to nurture the rich musical traditions of the area. The workshops provide an affordable way to learn old time music directly from master musicians. Masters such as Art Stamper, George Gibson and Rayna Gellert have taught workshops as well as some of the best beginning-level instructors, Cathy Grant and Trish Kilby-Fore. Old Time Days students have commented on the patience and resourcefulness of their instructors. A recent participant recounted, “A series of musical light bulbs came on throughout the room throughout the day.”

Steve and Matthew

 


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