NC FolkFest 2018Special to the Peacemaker / September 7, 2018
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The 2018 North Carolina Folk Festival is a free admission, three-day weekend celebration of America’s roots and heritage in downtown Greensboro, Friday, Sept 7 to Sunday, Sept. 9.
“In this transition from the National to the North Carolina Folk Festival, we have a great opportunity to shine an even brighter light on the homegrown talent here in our state. The N.C. Folk Fest will feature North Carolina performers on every festival stage,” says Amy Grossmann, director of the North Carolina Folk Festival.
“North Carolina is a state where our traditional arts continue to reflect a unique sense of place and our unique folkways through craft, music, storytelling and more,” Wayne Martin, executive director of the North Carolina Arts Council said. “The North Carolina Folk Festival is a wonderful backdrop to discover the cultural treasures found in communities small and large across North Carolina.”
Grammy-award winner, internationally renowned folk artist, and MacArthur Genius Fellow Rhiannon Giddens will return to Greensboro, her childhood home, as a guest curator for the N.C. Folk Festival, September 7-9 in downtown.
She’s a multi-talented artist; singer, banjo player, violinist, flat foot dancer, and actor who has used her talents to tell untold stories of the African American experience.
Rhiannon was born in Julian and moved to Greensboro when she was about seven years old. Growing up, music was always a part of her life. Her family was always singing.
“I was in the Greensboro Youth Chorus. It was a great beginning for me to organized music,” Rhiannon says of the local children’s choir. “It was a big influence on me and a big part of my upbringing.”
She studied music at the Governor’s School of North Carolina, an experience that prompted her to attend Oberlin Conservatory. She studied classical voice. After undergrad, she started a master’s at the UNC Greensboro School of Music.
In addition to performers, the festival will feature North Carolina potters who will exhibit in the North Carolina Folklife Area. This year, organizers collaborated with the North Carolina Folklife Institute to showcase traditional artists in North Carolina’s world-renowned pottery community.
“Our incredible potters will engage in live demonstrations, narrative discussions, and sell examples of their work in the heart of the festival site at Center City Park,” says Grossman.
Among the artists will be North Carolina Heritage Award recipients, and other outstanding representatives of the ceramic traditions of Seagrove, the Catawba Valley and American Indian communities.
The North Carolina Artists Include:
Bobby Hicks, Mark Kuykendall and Asheville Bluegrass, Bluegrass; Madison County, N.C.
Bobby Hicks and Mark Kuykendall — bluegrass veterans who have a combined 110 years of professional experience between them — are known for fiddle and banjo innovation. They will perform with Asheville Bluegrass, adding mandolin, bass, vocals, and a second banjo to their performance. Hicks has won 10 Grammy Awards, and is a 2014 recipient of the North Carolina Heritage Award.
Connie Steadman, Gospel singer and storyteller; Yanceyville, N.C.
At 79 years old, Connie Steadman has been singing spirituals and gospel songs for fully three-quarters of a century, having been pulled into her family’s a cappella quartet when she was only five years old. She is the recipient of the prestigious North Carolina Heritage Award, presented every other year by the North Carolina Arts Council.
Arnold Richardson, Haliwa-Saponi musician, craftsperson, and storyteller; Hollister, N.C.
Arnold Richardson is a master carver of stone, wood and gourds; an expert bead artist and potter, leather worker; and self-taught flautist and Native American flute maker. Richardson’s efforts to revitalize the cultural heritage of eastern North Carolina’s American Indians have long been credited for the resurgence of artistic vitality among the eastern tribes. He is also a North Carolina Heritage Award recipient.
Cabin Creek Boys, Old-time music; Southwest Virginia and NW Carolina
The Cabin Creek Boys play old-time hillbilly music from the mountains of southwest Virginia and northwest North Carolina. Led by multi-instrumentalist and award-winning husband and wife duo Chris and Erika Testerman of Lansing, North Carolina. The band also includes Jackson Cunningham of Grant, Va. on guitar; Karlie Keeper of Sparta, N.C. on claw-hammer banjo; and Jerry Steinberg of Salem, Va., on bass.
The Rorrer Boys old-time/bluegrass music, Rockingham County, N.C.
Doug Rorrer and his son Taylor Rorrer, along with guitarist Scott Manring form The Rorrer Boys. Doug and Taylor were inspired and taught by Doug’s great-uncles Charlie Poole and Posey Rorer and carry forward their family’s musical tradition through teaching and performance.
NC Folklife Potters
Darrin Bark, Cherokee tradition
Darrin Bark draws from his family’s rich artistic heritage and from the history of Cherokee ceramics in creating his distinctive gleaming black pottery.
Gabe Crow, Cherokee tradition
Through his accomplished pottery, basket weaving, and teaching, Gabe Crow is helping to ensure that artists of his generation and younger will carry on Cherokee craft traditions.
MD Flowers, Catawba Valley tradition
A member of one of North Carolina’s oldest pottery communities, MD Flowers is the only woman actively representing the Catawba Valley’s wood-fired ceramic tradition.
Sid Luck, Seagrove tradition
A legend in the state’s world-renowned Seagrove pottery community, Sid Luck is a sixth-generation potter, and has been recognized with the North Carolina Heritage Award.
Senora Richardson Lynch, Haliwa-Saponi Tribe
Senora Lynch, a North Carolina Heritage Award recipient, is nationally renowned for her exquisite and richly symbolic hand coiled pottery.
Hal and Eleanor Pugh, Historical pottery techniques
Hal and Eleanor Pugh of New Salem Pottery dedicate themselves to preserving Quaker, Moravian, and other early pottery traditions of North Carolina, as well as to their original lines of redware and stoneware.
To learn more about the N.C. Folk Festival, visit ncfolkfest.com. The North Carolina Folk Festival will continue to post updates on its Facebook page (facebook.com/NCFolkFestival), Twitter (twitter.com/NCFolkFestival) and Instagram (instagram.com/ncfolkfestival).