Sights & Sounds

Thornton Spencer and Martha Spencer

The early song collecting journeys of folklorists informed the rest of America about the remarkable breadth of fiddle tunes in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, many of which closely resembled …

Sights & Sounds

Elton Williams and Earl Sawyer

The steel drum, or “pan” as it is called in the Caribbean, was invented in Trinidad about the time of World War II. Afro-Trinidadians resourcefully crafted this musical instrument out …

Sights & Sounds

John Cephas and Marc Pessar

While perhaps not as well known as the Mississippi Delta style, Virginia has long been home to its own style of blues—the Piedmont Blues. And, just as it is in …

Sights & Sounds

Olen Gardner and Ross Matthews

The Folklife Apprenticeship Program includes various styles of banjo playing, so it was a natural fit to add one in banjo making, along with the invaluable skill of vintage instrument …

Sights & Sounds

Gerald Anderson and Spencer Strickland

Southwest Virginia has always had a rich tradition of luthiers—the builders of stringed, fretted instruments, and mandolin maker Gerald Anderson is considered among today’s true masters. Gerald spent more than …

Sights & Sounds

Mike Seeger and Seth Swingle

Mike Seeger has devoted his life to singing, playing, studying, teaching, and documenting the old-time music of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Over the years, Mike has absorbed a wide range …

Sights & Sounds

Patrick and Aaron Olwell

The flute has long held a prominent place in traditional Irish music, but the practice of making flutes specifically for Irish music is relatively new. For many years, Irish musicians …

Sights & Sounds

Broto Roy and Sunil Chugh

Broto Roy is a master of the 5,000-year-old tradition of tabla drumming of India. The tabla is composed of two drums, one made of wood and the other of metal. …

Sights & Sounds

Spencer Moore and Ben Moore Jr.

When the late folklorist Alan Lomax set out on one of his legendary “Southern Journeys” in 1959, he stopped in Chilhowie, Virginia, to record a tobacco farmer named Spencer Moore …

Sights & Sounds

Buddy Pendleton and Montana Young

Buddy Pendleton of Patrick County has lived a life in bluegrass music. Buddy is one the most beloved fiddlers in Southwest Virginia, and a common fixture on the leader board …

Sights & Sounds

Joe Ayers and Patrick Hester

Joe Ayers has literally written the history books regarding the development of the banjo in America. Joe, who lives in an eighteenth-century house in the gently rolling hills of rural …

Sights & Sounds

Flory Jagoda and Susan Gaeta

When the Sephardic Jews were forced into exile from Spain and Portugal in the fifteenth century, many settled in other Mediterranean countries but preserved their native language, called Ladino. Flory …

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