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Appalachian Sound Archives Fellowship Program

Appalachian Sound Archives Fellowship Recipients for 2008-2009

Paula Larke  (Stone Mountain, Georgia) 

Paula Larke is a writer, musician, and, story-teller who performs at schools, historical societies, cultural diversity programs, and historically black college alumni gatherings. The sources she draws upon include chants, songs, and spirituals from Tuskegee, Alabama; the Georgia Sea Islands; the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains; and the Piedmont Plateau region of North Carolina.

Paula's Music Fellowship work will be directed at gathering music and other materials to be used in a school based musical presentation that has as its backdrop the lives and times of her two grandfathers. Themes she will emphasize in her presentation include the importance of preserving family history and demonstrating ways of doing this with modern technology and through creative expressions such as song, rap, spoken word tributes, theatrical reenactments and video – digital stories.

One of her grandfathers was a community activist associated with the establishment of Southern Normal Institute in Brewton, Alabama. The other along with his sons, journeyed from South Carolina to Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and finally Ohio in search of work. Paula is particularly interested in identifying recordings of music and voices from radio and other sources that will suggest the music her father and grandfather were hearing and making their own as they made their way north to Ohio.

Paula's reflections on her archival work and performance of music encountered during her study are available in an approximately one hour You Tube video presentation.

Marianne worthington (Williamsburg, Kentucky) 

Marianne Worthington is an Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Journalism at the University of the Cumberlands, Williamsburg, KY. Her Music Fellowship study will be in furtherance of work on a poetry manuscript in process, currently titled Knoxville Girl. She will use Audio and other archival resources to enhance her knowledge of mountain music in general, to study the lives of particular women singers and folklorists in Kentucky, and to analyze specifically the words and music of murder ballads. The manuscript is directed at using poetry to tell these women's stories and to examine the issues and barriers women continue to face as artists and performers.

Marianne's poetry chapbook, Larger Bodies Than Mine, was chosen for the New Women’s Voices Series and received the 2007 Appalachian Book of the Year Award in Poetry. She has published over 40 poems in national, regional and on-line literary publications and over 60 non-fiction pieces (book reviews, essays, critical analyses, feature-stories) in regional and scholarly journals. She also teaches in the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts (KGSA) as a creative writing instructor

Christine Kuhn (Lexington, Kentucky)

Christine Kuhn is a professional artist with degrees in biology, chemistry and diplomacy. She uses her chemistry knowledge to create her own medium which combines mixed media, drawing and painting techniques with cast epoxy resins. Her art focuses on commemorating life’s transitions and passages and has included work based on various types of music.

 Christine's Music Fellowship Work involves exploring Appalachian music, history, visual images and artifacts.  The resultant information/imagery is being used to produce an exhibition of paintings exploring themes of    Appalachian spirituality and cultural heritage. The themes that will be addressed are the duality inherent in  Appalachian spirituality--death and despair vs. otherworldly faith; the relationship between Appalachian  Christianity, romantic obsession and addiction; and the relationship between humans and animals in the  Appalachian world and imagination. The resultant exhibition will be accompanied by an emotive soundtrack  comprised of archival recordings of music, spoken word and storytelling. The combined works will be exhibited in  such venues as the Berea College Appalachian Center, Berea Artisan Center, the Kentucky History Center, Lexington's History Museum and at least one other arts venue in Lexington.


Jim Carrier  (Madison, Wisconsin) 

Jim Carrier is a longtime journalist who is currently writing a documentary script on the racial history of the banjo. Jim's Music Fellowship work will focus on banjo history, music and styles played by black and white individuals and bands in Appalachia. His study will utilize the Buell Kazee, John Lair, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, John F. Smith, Jeff Titon and D.K. Wilgus collections.

Jim and Bill Evans, an ethnomusicologist and professional banjo player, are proposing a 90-minute film to PBS. Evans and Rhiannon Giddens, an African American banjo player currently with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, will serve as film co-hosts who retrace their personal journeys of discovery into the history of the banjo. The documentary will include filming in Africa, explore the various branches of the banjo family, and deal forthrightly with the racial issues that the banjo accompanied. 

Anna Roberts-Gevalt  (Hinesburg, VT) 

Anna Roberts-Gevalt is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She grew up in Vermont, playing violin in a youth orchestra and in string quartets. Through recordings at college she was drawn to Appalachian fiddle and banjo tunes. This interest led to an internship at Appalshop in Whitesburg, Kentucky during the summers of 2007 and 2008. This work has included archival research at Berea, East Tennessee State University, and the Library of Congress and hands-on experience at the Cowan Creek Mountain Music School, which puts banjos and fiddles into the hands of eager school age children.

The overall theme of Anna's Music Fellowship work was an examination of the role of women in the history of traditional music in Kentucky. Specifically she explored the lives and music of at several Kentucky women fiddlers who are documented in the Berea collections. She transcribed their tunes, conducted field interviews and identified additional recordings of these women with the aim of expanding their narrative and musical stories within the archives. She also looked at the lives of several other Kentucky instrumentalists and conducted similar field work for the Berea archives. Dissemination will be by means of a multimedia website, an article, and a series of presentations and performances. Her article on Owsley County, Kentucky fiddler, Effie Pierson can be found in the June-July 2010 issue of Old-Time Herald

Jacob Podber  (Carbondale, Illinois) 

Jacob Podber is an Associate Professor in the Radio and Television Department at Southern Illinois University. Jacob's Music Fellowship work will be a continuance of research on the importance of Country music radio programming and how Appalachian music on the radio (and later television) helped contribute to the regions Identity. His study will utilize several portions of the John Lair Collection and the Renfro Valley Barn Dance Oral History Collection. His several years of research to date have resulted in his book, The Electronic Front Porch: An Oral History of the Arrival of Modern Media in Rural Appalachia and the Melugeon Community.

Alan Mills  (Berea, Kentucky) 

Alan Mills teaches Appalachian Craft in the Berea College Department of Technology and Industrial Arts. The class explores such traditional crafts as basket making, woodworking, quilting, blacksmithing, and leather working within regional social and cultural contexts including music. For the woodworking emphases, some students choose to build dulcimers and banjos. His Music Fellowship work was directed at developing audio, photographic, and print material to support interpreting the wide range of Appalachian music's ethnic, vocal, and instrumental diversity.