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Appalachian Ballads Research (Lynch-Thomason)
Saro Lynch-Thomason's Berea Sound Fellowship focused on rare ballad variants from the Leonard Ward Roberts Collection, with a special focus on ballads of European origin.
Project: Saro's Fellowship research will make use of audio recordings in Berea's Leonard Roberts Collection to study Kentucky ballads which have mostly fallen out of oral tradition. She will build a singing repertoire of between 25- 30 pieces with the object of revitalizing these rare stories and melodies in Southern Appalachian singing communities. Follow Saro’s research progress on her project blog.
Activities toward this end will include a series of knee-to-knee teaching workshops in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina; an on-line teaching resource with recordings; and development of a show exclusively featuring songs from this repertoire, including stories and memories from the source singers.
Saro's previous traditional music research and production work includes Blair Pathways, a musical exploration of the West Virginia Coal Wars (1902-1921) via a 20-track CD and multipage historic narrative. She also sings at numerous regional festivals, teaches in ballad-singing workshops, and leads a weekly community singing group that trades and teaches songs.