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Berea Sound Archives Fellows 2005 - 2016

Information about each of the Sound Archives Fellows and their project.

Kehren Barbour and Michael Luchtan  Asheville, North Carolina  / 2013-2014 Fellows  / Topic: Experimental

Project: Kehren and Michael combine their artistic and musical talents in research directed toward developing arrangements of Appalachian fiddle tunes for the Tango sextet tipico, the traditional Argentine Tango ensemble. The specific music form is called a Cortina, the transition piece between Tango dance sets. The goal of the project is dissemination of Appalachian music to the global community of tango musicians and dancers. In addition to being performed by the Asheville Tango Orchestra, the arrangements will be presented on a website with dramaturgical narrative essays for each song in both Spanish and English. Kehren and Michael presented their paper "“Cortinas de Appalachia”: Old Sounds, New Forms - presentation on project inspired by research fellowship in Berea College Sound Archives" as part of the 2015 Appalachian Studies Association Conference. Performance and recording of the arrangements by other groups will be encouraged by making them freely available under a Creative Commons License. The completed Cortinas will be brought to Argentina in July 2014 for performance at the Tango para Musicos international symposium sponsored by the Argentinian government. Michael founded the Asheville Tango Orchestra in 2010 to foster cross-cultural communication. He has introduced thousands of Latinos to Appalachian rhythms by performing the music of such musicians as singer-songwriter José Alfredo Jiménez in a traditional Appalachian style at music venues, libraries, and taquerias.

Josh Bearman Richmond, Virginia / 2011-2012 Fellow / Topic: Radio Programs

Project: Josh Bearman is a musician and radio DJ in Richmond, Virginia. He is noted for his radio program, The Edge of Americana and string band, The Hot Seats. Both integrate the likes of bluegrass, jug band, vaudeville, and old-time string-band music. His radio play list has included a variety of noncommercial sources including Berea online audio material. He will use Berea's audio and manuscript collections for the development of radio biographies of early Kentucky old-time musicians, Buell Kazee and Asa Martin.

Mary Beth Bingman / Dungannon, Virginia / 2014-2015 Fellow / Topic: Appalachian Oral History

Project: Mary Beth’s Fellowship supported work involves recording oral history interviews to document a project that came to be called the Fellowship House Day Camp, a racially integrated day camp in Knoxville, Tennessee held every summer from 1950 until 1972. Interviews will include former campers as well as parents and others who were involved in the project’s development and ongoing operation.

Mary Beth has extensive professional experience in adult education and arts administration in recent years at the University of Tennessee Center for Literacy Studies and Appalshop, Incorporated in Whitesburg, Kentucky. She reported on the results of her Fellowship research in a presentation at the 2016 Appalachian Studies Conference and produced a related radio feature for Mountain News and World Report program on WMMT in Whitesburg, Kentucky.

Adam BoothShepherdstown, West Virginia / 2014-2015 Fellow / Topics: Folklore; Appalachian Storytelling

Project: Using audio recordings from the Leonard Roberts Collection, Adam’s research focused on how storytellers put words together, the melodic and rhythmic qualities of their storytelling, and interesting or unusual phrases and colloquialisms. He found that many of the stories Roberts collected are interspersed with verse or song recited with emphasized drama. His study revealed common rhythmic elements used by many tellers from different Kentucky counties. These elements appear in similar narrative moments — even in stories with very different content. For the past three years Adam has taught courses in Appalachian storytelling, folklore and music for the Appalachian Studies minor at Shepherd University. His storytelling blends traditional folklore, music, and an awareness of contemporary Appalachia. Awards for stories and recordings include a Parents' Choice Silver Honor, Storytelling World Awards Honors, and four West Virginia Liars’ Contest wins.

Doug Boyd / Lexington, Kentucky / 2014-2015 Fellow / Topic: Oral History

Project: Doug Boyd’s Fellowship supported work involves enhancing online access to the lengthy folklore recordings in Berea’s Leonard Roberts Collection. Such recordings are not easily searchable without a transcript. Even with a transcript, the textual representation often does not correlate to what is heard on the recording. Doug will be exploring the adaptability to these folklore recordings of the web-based Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS). OHMS allows indexing audio directly without transcription. Doug’s work will result in 18 recordings from the Roberts folklore collection being indexed and made searchable online. He will also work with Special Collections staff to develop staffing patterns and work flows, toward the end of using OHMS more extensively to make Berea’s spoken word recordings easily accessible and searchable. Doug received his Ph.D. degree in Folklore from Indiana University. He is the Director of the Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky and regularly writes, lectures, and consults on oral history and digital technologies, archives, and digital preservation.

Jim Carrier Madison, Wisconsin / 2008-2009 Fellow / Topic: Music - Banjo

Jim CarrierProject: 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.

Tammy Clemons and Timi Reedy Berea, Kentucky / 2009-2010 Fellows / Topic: Appalachian Music

Project: Tammy Clemons and Timi Reedy are homesteaders living in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. Their Fellowship work focused on documenting the musical careers of Timi's grandparents, John and Frances Reedy from Harlan County, Kentucky. The Reedys were early bluegrass musicians who, during the late 1940's through early 1960's, did factory work in Dayton, Ohio where they also became a part of that city's roots music scene that included Appalachian Rock-a-Billy and independent Bluegrass record labels. They also did contextual research in collections such as those of John Lair and Rueben Powell, organized and preserved the extensive Reedy Family audio and print material, and recorded interviews with Reedy family associates and others toward the end of documenting the musical and other cultural exchanges the Reedys' and their contemporaries were part of in Dayton. Timi and Tammy's fellowship activity report is included in their project blog Remembering the Reedys: Appalachian Music, Migration, & Memory. Their efforts finally culminated in 2022 with the release of a two audio CD set on the Yazoo label, The Legacy of John and Frances Reedy and Their Stone Mountain Band.

Rob Clutton / Toronto, Ontario, Canada / 2011-2012 Fellow / Topic: Banjo Music

Project: Rob Clutton is a doctoral candidate in Music at York University in Toronto, Canada. He will be drawing upon Berea's recordings and manuscript collections of such banjo figures as Buell Kazee and Bascom Lamar Lunsford in support of dissertation research on five-string banjo music of the 1920s. Research outcomes in addition to the dissertation, will be at least one paper for the Society of Ethnomusicology and informal music exchanges with campus-community musicians.