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Berea Sound Archives Fellowship Topics

Aisha Ivey / Tallahassee, Florida / 2013-2014 / Topics: Fiddlers and Fiddle Music

Aisha IveyProject: Aisha's research involves documenting the migration of American old time fiddling from the Appalachian region throughout the southeastern United States. She will video record interviews with fiddlers in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia. She will be focusing on documenting stylistic variables, bowing patterns, repertoire, influences, and learning styles in an effort to understand the dynamics of the tradition's migration. 

Aisha's efforts will result in a collection of video recordings and transcriptions to be made accessible for future research use in the Berea College Archives. Additional access will be provided through a public presentation at the 2015 Appalachian Studies Association Conference and a permanent online exhibit. She will also incorporate the fruits of her documentation work into her classroom teaching and graduate studies at Florida State University. 

Aisha played her first fiddle tune at age 10. She continued formal music studies into college and graduate school and has focused on Irish and Scottish fiddle styles as well as American. She teaches the Florida State University Old Time Ensemble, the Tallahassee Youth Orchestra Fiddlers, and is president of the Florida State Fiddlers Association.


Alan Jabbour / Washington, D.C. / 2007-2008 / Topic: Fiddlers and Fiddle Music

Alan JabbourProject: Alan served as director of the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress during the years 1976-1999. He is a folklorist and fiddler who has specialized in American folk music, particularly instrumental folk music of the Upland South since the 1960s. He has published extensively on this subject and has edited various documentary field recordings. In the 1960s and 1970s he documented the old-time fiddle music of West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.

His work in the Berea Archives will provide the opportunity to delve deeply in old-time Kentucky fiddling as represented in the recordings of such collectors as Bruce Greene, John Harrod, Barbara Kunkle, and Steve Rice. 

One aspect of his study will be tracing and understanding the cultural flow from these collectors to archives and back into present day culture – a process that has been magnified by the multiplying new technologies of the 20th century. More specifically, his study will focus on analyzing the correspondences and divergences between eastern Kentucky fiddling and the fiddling of North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. A secondary focal area will be the Tallmadge and Titon collections of Old Regular Baptist lined-out singing in connection with a book project in the works on the Decoration Day cemetery tradition.

Alan will share his research findings in the form of tune transcriptions and related data assembled for inclusion on the Berea website, an on campus lecture-concert, possible print publication regarding contributions of eastern Kentucky fiddling to American music and the place of lined hymnody in Decoration Day celebrations. 


Erynn Marshall / British Columbia, Canada / 2005-2006 / Topic: Fiddlers and Fiddle Music

Erynn MarshallProject: Marshall primarily explored eastern Kentucky fiddle styles and song traditions following on similar research conducted in West Virginia begun in 1998. She is from British Columbia and is a fiddler, ethnomusicologist and author of the book Music in the Air Somewhere: The Shifting Borders of West Virginia's Fiddle and Song Traditions, recently published by the West Virginia University Press. Erynn’s work at Berea included transcriptions of fiddle tunes by Hiram Stamper, J.P. Fraley, Santford Kelly and others. She also interviewed members of the Stamper family and made a number of field recordings including a heretofore undocumented Old Regular Baptist congregation in Lincoln County. Her fieldwork involved meeting many resident musicians and visiting local, traditional music gatherings in Rockcastle, Garrard, Knox, Pike, Knott and Rowan counties as well as the Berea area. With banjoist Chris Coole she brought her residency to a close June 20th with an on campus concert that included several of the fiddle pieces and tunings she studied while at Berea.


John McCurley / Bloomington, Indiana / 2010-2011 / Topic: Fiddlers and Fiddle Music

John McCurleyProject: John McCurley is a young fiddler living in Bloomington, Indiana. His musical interests date from high-school years in Berea after which he went on to Reed College in Oregon where he majored in philosophy. His Fellowship work at Berea was the initial research phase for the development of a free educational website that will serve present day fiddlers who are showing increasing interest in adding Kentucky fiddle tunes to their repertoires. From many hours of auditioning archival recordings, fifteen tunes were selected to be featured on the website. The site will be a resource for experienced musicians and a non-intimidating medium for those new to traditional music to learn a few fundamentals of fiddling and develop a small set of tunes that they can play. Recognizing the importance in the learning process of watching someone play a fiddle tune, the site will include video performances of each tune by a series of current-day fiddlers in addition to the source recordings from the Berea collection.


Scott Prouty / Takoma Park, Maryland / 2011-2012 / Topic: Fiddlers and Fiddle Music

Scott ProutyProject: Scott Prouty is a professional archivist and is deeply involved in playing and documenting West Virginia and Kentucky old-time fiddle music. His Fellowship research will involve documenting the work of Kentucky old-time music scholar John Harrod. He will record extensive interviews with Harrod about the fiddlers he has documented in his many hours of audio and video recordings that are available in Berea's Southern Appalachian Archives. Research outcomes will include incorporating the interview text and audio in a Berea online library guide, one or more articles, and informal music exchanges with Bluegrass Ensemble members and other students.

Photo Credit: LFolwick, 2011


Eric Strother / Lexington, Kentucky / 2007-2008 / Topic: Fiddlers and Fiddle Music

Eric StrotherProject: Eric is a musicology doctoral candidate at the University of Kentucky, with research interests in jazz, popular music, sacred music, and Appalachian ballad and fiddle traditions. His musical roots are in West Virginia where he grew up hearing the fiddle and mandolin playing of his stepfather and other family members. His work in the Berea Archives will center on transcribing and analyzing tune performances of West Virginia fiddlers Melvin Wine and Ernie Carpenter. His approach will be to document not only the tune but the complete performance which will allow future researchers to analyze the constants and variations in each repetition to gain insight into the performer’s characteristic style.