from Donald Hughes, Project Coordinator
Today, July 25, 2016, marks the centennial of the beginning of the Appalachian song collecting fieldwork of Cecil J. Sharp and Maud Karpeles. The NC Folklife Institute and the Country Dance and Song Society are sponsoring the celebration and recognition of this important work. The Madison County Arts Council, Mars Hill University, the English Folk Dance and Song Society, and others join us in the effort.
One hundred years ago, in the wake of a massive flood of the French Broad River, with stifling heat and disruption, Cecil and Maud set out, with the assistance of John C. and Olive Dame Campbell and Helen Storrow of MA, to travel the Appalachian region, first in Madison County, NC, then in subsequent months and years to other counties and other states, including VA, TN, KY, and WV.
The result was a strong appreciation of the influence of traditional English music within Appalachian culture, a regard that continues to this day. As with all things American, this influence blended with many other traditions in forming the very vibrant state of music throughout the region.
Please take a look at our website (cecilsharpinappalachia.org). There will be frequent postings that will reflect the progress of Sharp and Karpeles travels in 1916 during this year.
A centennial is a good marker of durability and meaning. We are pleased to be a part of this recognition. And we hope you enjoy the reprise of this journey.