Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-vi

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-xiv

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-16

In 2009, professional photographer Tom Pich was lining up an unlikely combination of individuals to have a group portrait taken. He was working in the cavernous reception area of the recently opened Visitor Center of the United States Capitol, named Emancipation Hall to honor the many unnamed enslaved laborers who helped build the domed structure. The assembled group included, among others, a cowboy poet from Texas, a basketmaker from South Dakota, a contra dance caller from New Hampshire, a Tlingit weaver from Alaska, and a gospel quartet from Alabama. All had come to Washington, DC, to be honored with a National Heritage Fellowship, the highest form...

Portraits

read more

Hugh McGraw (1982)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 18-19

Shape note singing spread throughout New England in the eighteenth century as a simplified way for church members to grasp the melodies of religious hymns. Teachers traveled from community to community to instruct singing school attendees in a method of singing that associates shapes on the staff of a hymnbook with notes on the musical scale. The melody is often sung in unison using the “fasola” syllables before adding the words of the hymn. The Sacred Harp, published in 1844, became one of the most popular shape note hymnals. This form of a cappella group singing took root in the South, where...

read more

Philip Simmons (1982)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 20-21

Philip Simmons’s art combines masterful ironwork with imaginative design, as expressive as it is functional. At thirteen, Simmons apprenticed with Peter Simmons (no relation), a former slave, who had a blacksmith shop in Charleston. Like craftworkers of the antebellum South who preceded him, Philip Simmons first concentrated on the basic skills of the blacksmith—making tools, fashioning horseshoes, and repairing equipment. In time his attention turned to more sculptural endeavors, and, consistent with the architectural history of Charleston, he began contracting to produce decorative pieces of ornamental ironwork: gates, window grills, balcony rails, and fences. His work combines a...

read more

Ray Hicks (1983)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 22-23

Ray Hicks was raised in a cabin on Beech Mountain in western North Carolina. Both of his parents sang ballads and told stories, and his father was one of the first dulcimer makers in the region. It was from his grandfather that Hicks first heard the traditional tales, most with early English and European roots in oral tradition. Many of these stories had a hero named Jack, familiar to most today through such widely told stories as “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and referred to as “Jack tales.” In 1973 Ray Hicks shared some of these tales at the first National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. In a setting that consisted of a circus tent, some hay bales, and wagon...

read more

Mary Jane Manigault (1984)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 24-25

The practice of making coiled sweetgrass baskets in the South Carolina Low Country dates to the earliest plantation-based culture in that region and in turn can be traced to the agricultural practices of West Africa. Rice fanners and produce baskets were crafted from locally available natural materials gathered along the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia. This craft eventually evolved from what were called “work” baskets to “show” baskets. Mary Jane Manigault, born in 1913, learned basketmaking from her parents, Sam and Sally Coakley. Residents of a post-Reconstruction community near Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, the Coakleys marketed their...

read more

Ralph Stanley (1984)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 26-27

From the Clinch Mountain area of Southwest Virginia, Ralph Stanley and his brother Carter were seminal musicians in the development of bluegrass music. Steeped in the older sounds, Ralph heard his mother sing and play banjo in a style known as clawhammer, striking the strings with the back of the fingers in a downward motion and using the extended thumb to pick individual notes. His father also sang, and through attendance at the local Primitive Baptist Church Ralph heard a repertoire of a cappella lined-out hymn singing that would later become critical to his set list. In 1946, after Carter got out of the army, he and Ralph formed a band that performed on local radio stations...

read more

Eppie Archuleta (1985)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 28-29

Eppie Archuleta grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of northern New Mexico, an area known for its finely woven textiles, mainly wool blankets that combine Hispanic and Native American visual elements. The tradition of weaving goes back at least five generations in her family, as does the practice of carding, dyeing, and spinning the wool. In the 1940s she moved with her husband and family to the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado, and when not raising sheep and working in the potato and lettuce fields she continued to weave. By the 1950s she had begun teaching at the Los Artes...

read more

Julio Negrón Rivera (1985)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 30-31

The jibaro (mountain Hispanic) music of Puerto Rico is rooted in the highland interior of the island where coffee trees are cultivated and grown. The cuatro, a ten-stringed guitar, is central to the music of this region and has become known to many as the national instrument of the commonwealth. Julio Negrón Rivera’s grandparents and parents were musicians, and his father was also an instrument maker. Family members performed secular music, such as valses (waltzes) and décimas (sung poetry, often improvised), as well as religious songs such as those in honor of the Virgen del Carmen (patron saint of Morovis) and others, performed at saints’ days, novenas, and wakes. Although he performs music with his family to this day, the instruments he...

read more

Periklis Halkias (1985)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 32-33

Periklis Halkias was born in the mountainous Epirot region of northern Greece, not far from Albania. His skills playing the clarinet led him on a journey to Athens to play in the folk music clubs, where he continued to perform until 1964, when he came to the United States. In New York he became a featured entertainer in the Greek nightclubs along Eighth Avenue. While, at the time, Greek music was more widely heard and appreciated in film scores and through modern Panhellenic arrangements on electrified bouzouki in bars, Halkias performed for community celebrations incorporating the older “Oriental” style, characterized by improvised ancient...

read more

Alphonse “Bois Sec” Ardoin (1986)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 34-35

Alphonse “Bois Sec” Ardoin lived in a settlement near Bayou Duralde, first occupied by his great-great-grandfather. He got his nickname, translated as “dry wood,” as a child because it was said that he was always the first to run into the barn for shelter when a rainstorm hit the fields. In the 1930s, Bois Sec Ardoin’s cousin Amédé Ardoin was the first musician from the region to make 78 rpm recordings in a Creole style that later evolved into a more blues-inflected sound called zydeco, a blend of Cajun, African American, and French musical traditions. In 1966 Amédé Ardoin and his musical partner Canray Fontenot took their music to the Newport Folk Festival, thus becoming significant figures in introducing Louisiana Creole music to a broader public. Amédé...

read more

Helen Cordero (1986)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 36-37

Although the practice of making pottery extends over several millennia in the southwestern United States, Helen Cordero is known as one who brought new life to these ancient traditions. Using traditional hand-shaping and open-firing techniques, in 1964 she decided to start making figures based on her grandfather telling stories to children, and that choice led to both a new aesthetic and a unique subject matter for Pueblo potters. Using a variety of configurations, her pots both feature a storyteller figure and tell their own story. Today her work is found in museums around the world. Cordero gave new life to pueblo pottery, a role that was confirmed in 1981 when an exhibition of storyteller figures featured more...

read more

John Jackson (1986)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 38-39

John Jackson spent a lifetime digging graves and taking care of local properties, but in his spare time he often traveled to Virginia’s battlefields with a metal detector, unearthing Civil War artifacts. His rich musical talents were not “unearthed” for a broader public until folklorist Charles Purdue overheard him picking his guitar at a service station in 1962. Jackson was brought up in a musical family and started out playing on his father’s $4.98 flat top guitar at the age of four. Purveyor of an eclectic repertoire of blues, gospel, ragtime, and country material in a laid-back but rhythmically complex style often referred to as Piedmont blues, he in later years made numerous recordings and performed internationally...

read more

Sonia Domsch (1986)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 40-41

Sonia Domsch was born near Atwood, Kansas, in the house that her great-grandmother built after coming to America from the Bohemian region of what is now Czechoslovakia. When Sonia was young she watched her great-aunt make lace using the bobbins brought from the “old country.” Although she began making lace herself at the age of four, she did not pursue the craft seriously until her aunt was in her late seventies and Sonia realized no one else in the family was taking an interest. An uncle who traveled to Belgium brought back some lace samples that inspired Sonia to further pursue more complex lace patterns. This led to her own travel to Belgium to research bobbin lace making and the speculation that her great-grandmother most likely learned the skill from Belgian nuns who...

read more

Juan Alindato (1987)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 42-43

Juan Alindato, a dockworker by trade, also was well-known for making elaborate masks meant to terrify and delight carnival celebrants in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and other cities on the southern side of the island. In a practice dating to the mid-eighteenth century, during carnival season figures wearing caretas (masks) would roam the streets carrying inflated cow bladders on small sticks and chasing people they encountered. These individuals, called vejigantes, took their name from the words vejiga (bladder) and gigante (giant). Originally their intimidating costumes and behavior were intended to represent the devil, and to scare people into going back to...

read more

Genoveva Castellanoz (1987)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 44-45

While an artist’s impact can be measured in many ways, its breadth can sometimes be measured in miles. Genoveva Castellanoz has for decades served the widely dispersed Mexican American agricultural communities that stretch from eastern Oregon through southern Idaho and beyond. She makes coronas (crowns) and flowers that are essential to quinceañera (coming of age) and wedding ceremonies. Made with wire, paper, melted wax, and dye, the arrangements serve both as beautiful elements of rites of passage and as personalized artefacts, meant to be saved and displayed as reminders of the significance of these events. Castellanoz uses the preparation for ceremonies as an opportunity...

read more

Kansuma Fujima (1987)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 46-47

Kansuma Fujima, born Sumako Hamaguchi, started her training in kabuki dance at the age of nine, rather a late start to master this tradition. Typically, a child begins to learn this complex form on the sixth day of the sixth month of one’s sixth year. Upon graduation from high school in Los Angeles, she went to Japan, where she studied acting, dancing, and proper dress, as well as the tea ceremony, flower arranging, and performance on the required instruments. By 1938 she was given her stage name, Kansuma, and made her professional debut. After returning to the United States, Kansuma opened a dance studio, but with the outbreak of World War II, she and her parents were taken to a relocation camp in Arkansas. With only a fan, a kimono, and recorded music, she entertained the detainees. After the war,...

read more

Newton Washburn (1987)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 48-49

The Sweetser family was known for producing baskets in New England as long ago as the 1850s. Newton Washburn’s mother, a Sweetser, said that her family came originally from Switzerland to settle in Vermont, and an early relative married a woman from the Abenaki tribe. As a result, the family’s basketry skills and techniques combine European and Native American traditions using locally available black ash wood. Although at one time there were said to be seventeen different branches of the family making baskets, the early twentieth century witnessed a decline of the market for and interest in handmade baskets. Washburn took up basketry in a serious way following a career doing auto bodywork. He made a laundry basket for his wife to replace the...

read more

Wade Mainer (1987)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 50-51

Wade Mainer is recognized as a transitional figure in the evolution of Appalachian string band music to what became known as bluegrass. He and his brother J. E. grew up in western North Carolina, moving as young men to the Piedmont region to work in a cotton mill. The siblings formed a string band and were hired by a patent medicine company, Crazy Water Crystals, to do a radio broadcast from Charlotte. With Wade on banjo and J. E. on fiddle, the band known as J. E. Mainer and the Mountaineers toured the region and made popular recordings. In 1936 Wade formed his own band and continued to perform with his distinctive two-finger style of picking the banjo. In the 1950s Wade...

read more

Clyde “Kindy” Sproat (1988)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 52-53

When one thinks of Hawaiian music, cowboy songs wouldn’t be the first thing that comes to mind. Actually, some of the largest individually owned ranches in the United States can be found on the Big Island of Hawaii, and consequently cowboy music, stories, craft, and ranching skills reflect a long tradition there. First imported to Hawaii from California in the late nineteenth century, cattle roamed free in feral herds until around 1830, when Mexican vaqueros came to the island to domesticate the environmentally destructive livestock. Clyde Sproat was a cultural beneficiary of this blend of deep Hawaiian tradition with cowboy skills and knowledge. He grew up in a remote valley, a...

read more

Chesley Goseyun Wilson (1989)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 54-55

Chesley Goseyun Wilson was born into a family of violin makers on the San Carlos Reservation in the White Mountain area of Arizona. The Apache name for the one-stringed violin, an instrument made of the dried flower stalk of the agave plant, is Tsii’edo’a’tl, or “wood singing.” Used to perform ceremonial music, love songs, and dance tunes, the instrument is decorated with geometric designs depicting traditional symbols that represent the four directions, the landscape, and a variety of spirits. Known as a medicine man, Wilson has instructed many younger students in Apache artistic practices and spiritual values. His commitment to Apache culture is reflected in his frequent comment: “My fiddle only plays Apache songs.”...

read more

Harry V. Shourds (1989)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 56-57

Harry Shourds is a third-generation woodcarver whose grandfather was described as the greatest professional carver of working decoys in Barnegut Bay, a hotbed of carving and wildfowl hunting. Shourds has mused that his grandfather could sit down in a barber’s chair for a shave and whittle a duck’s head beneath the cape, emerging from the chair with a pocketknife in one hand and a completed head in the other. He points out that even though his forbears, and his son and grandson today, carve decoys, each has a unique and distinctive style. Still, the important thing about a decoy, in his opinion, is that it is a product of the creative memory and imagination of the carver....

read more

Vanessa Paukeigope [Morgan] Jennings (1989)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 58-59

Spending most of her childhood with her grandparents, Vanessa Jennings began learning Kiowa traditional ways and artistic skills at an early age. She became a master beadworker and skin sewer, paying particular attention to the clan and tribal traditions of her family. Out of respect, elders were always buried in their best regalia, and this placed a particular responsibility on the maker of the tribal clothing and ceremonial objects. It also conveyed an expectation for the maker to teach design and fabrication to future generations. It is a responsibility that she has fulfilled throughout her career—instructing young people in the necessary techniques to make regalia and demonstrating her...

read more

Natividad “Nati” Cano (1990)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 60-61

Nati Cano spent his youth near Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco, considered to be the cradle of mariachi music. Following study at the Academia de Música in Guadalajara and an apprenticeship playing with his father and grandfather in local cantinas, he traveled to Mexicali and joined Mariachi Chapala, where he soon became the group’s musical arranger. In 1960 he emigrated, arriving in Los Angeles, and eventually became director of Los Camperos (The Countrymen). Motivated by the fact that he had once been refused service in a restaurant because he was Mexican, he opened a restaurant, La Fonda de Los Camperos, in Los Angeles that became a musical venue for the band and served as a cultural center for Mexican music. Cano and Los Camperos...

read more

Wallace “Wally” McRae (1990)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 62-63

Wally McRae ranches near Montana’s Rosebud Creek on land that has been in his family since 1885. Although his first public recitation was a Christmas “piece” delivered at a local one-room schoolhouse when he was four, in adulthood he has become widely known as a writer and reciter of cowboy poetry. This form of verse and verbal performance dates to a time when working cowboys entertained in bunkhouses and around campfires. McRae has published four books of poetry, and his poem “Reincarnation” has become a classic and a part of ongoing oral tradition, recited at cowboy poetry gatherings around the West.

Tom Pich traveled to the annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, to photograph McRae and several other...

read more

Etta Baker (1991)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 64-65

Etta Baker grew up in a household filled with music. Her grandfather played banjo; her father was accomplished on banjo, fiddle, and guitar; and her mother often joined in on harmonica and Jew’s harp. The music they played included dance tunes, rags, love songs, and blues typical of the rural Piedmont region and reflective of the cultural mix of its African American, Anglo, and Native American settlers. She and her husband, a piano player, moved to Morganton, where Etta worked in a textile mill, but she continued to play her music for family and friends. In 1965 she encountered folklorist and musician Paul Clayton while he was on a recording trip in the region, and her performances on guitar documented on the album Instrumental Music of the Southern Appalachians had a profound impact on younger musicians during...

read more

George Blake (1991)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 66-67

George Blake has made it his life pursuit to learn about the Hupa and Yurok traditions of his ancestors. As has been the case with the knowledge and skills of many Native American tribal groups, his recovery of historically accurate practices involves research combined with conversation with elders. He has mastered the art of making regalia such as elk-antler purses, deerskin headdresses, sinew-strung bows, and otterskin quivers used in ceremonial dances. After studying with the last two elders who knew how to make Yurok dugout canoes, Blake was able to recreate the vessels that the tribe used to ply the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. One of his canoes is on permanent display at the Humboldt State University library, where he received an honorary...

read more

Irván Pérez (1991)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 68-69

St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana is home to a unique community of settlers who arrived in the late 1700s from the Canary Islands. Spanish-speaking “Islenos,” as they refer to themselves, took root in this swampy terrain and supported themselves through hunting, trapping, fishing, and farming. Irván Pérez maintained a rich cultural heritage by continuing to perform the songs, tales, riddles, and proverbs of his ancestors. His repertoire includes the decimas, the ten-line narrative songs, often improvised and about current events, in a form rooted in sixteenth-century Spain. In addition, he was known as a woodcarver who crafted both functional and decorative decoys. In later years, he served as a community scholar, providing valuable historical information for the development...

read more

Jerry Brown (1992)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 70-71

The area of northwestern Alabama where Jerry Brown lived was known for a type of clay prized for pottery making, so independent farmers, such as Jerry’s father, could supplement their income by making clayware. Jerry and his brother made clay pieces even before they started attending school. After a career in logging, Brown returned to pottery. Though he originally had in mind selling to the local market, as potters of the region had done for decades, his reputation spread, and museum gift shops and tourists beat a path to his door to purchase decorative churns and face jugs that feature stylized and often grotesque faces. He has said that the face jugs fashioned by early pottery makers warned people of poisonous materials...

read more

Charles Hankins (1993)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 72-73

Building techniques and design features of boats acquire characteristics unique to their use and maritime environment. This certainly is the case with the Sea Bright skiff, a boat used along the coast of New Jersey. The shoreline often required that fishing and lifesaving boats be launched directly into the surf. As a result, the Sea Bright skiff was designed with a flat bottom and rounded sides and constructed to be light and sturdy. Charles Hankins has a direct connection, through his boatbuilder father, to this distinctive handmade wooden boat that has a 185-year history. He became known for the quality of his boats, and when fishing transitioned to larger mechanized craft, his skiffs were prized by lifeguards and customers who...

read more

D. L. Menard (1994)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 74-75

Often referred to as “the Cajun Hank Williams,” D. L. Menard grew up listening to border radio stations that broadcast country music sung in English. When he was sixteen he heard a local Cajun band singing in French, and soon thereafter he ordered a guitar from the Montgomery Ward catalog for $11 and began to play with bands in the region. Eventually he started to sing and compose songs of his own. One of those, “La Porte d’en arrière” (The Back Door), became a regional hit. He continued to work at a service station and later made chairs to earn a living, but in 1973 Menard was heard by Dick Spottswood, who was doing fieldwork in Louisiana, and was invited to perform in Washington, DC, at the National Folk...

read more

Simon Shaheen (1994)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 76-77

Simon Shaheen has been deeply immersed in Arabic music since he took up the oud at the age of four. His father was a renowned teacher and composer, and it was at home that he first learned the complex system of tuning and improvisation that dates to at least the seventh century. Shaheen was born to an Orthodox Catholic family in an Arab village in Galilee and collected folk music from that region, in addition to pursuing formal studies at such institutions as the Academy of Music in Jerusalem. After moving to New York to complete graduate degrees at Manhattan School of Music and Columbia University, Shaheen formed the Near Eastern Musical Ensemble to continue performing, teaching, and composing...

read more

Sosei Shizuye Matsumoto (1994)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 78-79

After attending the French American Fashion Design School, Sosei Shizuye Matsumoto moved to Kyoto, Japan, where she had the good fortune to study the Japanese tea ceremony with Tantansai, the fourteenth-generation grandmaster of the Urasenke School of Chado (tea ceremony). Study included the full range of subjects, including the tea ceremony, ceramics, architecture, flower arranging (ikebana), and calligraphy. Upon returning to Los Angeles following World War II, she was invited to the signing of the US-Japan peace treaty in San Francisco, where over four days, she served tea ceremonially to more than 3,000 American and Japanese officials, including President Truman and Prime Minister Yoshida. In 1951 she began giving tea ceremony...

read more

Blind Boys of Alabama (1994)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 80-81

The original members of this musical group, with a seventy-two-year history, first sang together around the age of nine at the Alabama School for the Negro Blind. Known then as the Happy Land Jubilee Singers, in 1948 they were booked with the Jackson Harmonizers from Mississippi in what was billed as the “Battle of the Blind Boys.” Soon they changed their name to the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, and they have had an extensive recording and touring career since. In 1983 they appeared in the acclaimed theatrical production The Gospel at Colonus, and with a revival of interest in their music, the past...

read more

Danongan Kalanduyan (1995)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 82-83

The kulintang, consisting of eight knobbed gongs suspended on a wooden frame, is an instrument popular in the southern Philippine Islands. Danongan Kalanduyan was born in a fishing village in Mindanao and learned to play the instruments of the kulintang ensemble, including the drums and the gongs, from his grandmother, father, uncles, and cousins. He won an island-wide competition in his youth and was soon recognized as a master of the kulintang. In 1976 he received a Rockefeller grant to serve as an artist in residence at the University of Washington in Seattle, and for the next four decades, first in Seattle and later in San Francisco, he was sought out as a performer and a teacher....

read more

Nathan Jackson (1995)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 84-85

Nathan Jackson was born into the Sockeye Clan on the Raven side of the Chilkoot-Tlingit tribe of Southeast Alaska. He learned ceremonial practices and woodcarving techniques from his clan uncle and grandfather. Because tribal values and stories are often manifest in the crests and motifs of the carving, weaving, and beadwork of Alaska Native people, the artist has a special role and responsibility within the community. After military service in Germany, Jackson pursued studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, before returning to Southeast Alaska, where he has become an acknowledged master of traditional craft, including the carving...

read more

Betty Pisio Christenson (1996)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 86-87

Born to Ukrainian immigrants who homesteaded a farm in northern Wisconsin, Betty Pisio Christenson learned eggpainting techniques from her mother. She first saw the traditional painted eggs as a child during the Lenten season and asked her mother where these beautiful eggs came from. Her mother explained the significance of the eggs and initially taught her the krizanki (single-colored) tradition of decorating with natural dyes made from bark, onion skin, and beets. Later Betty began making the more elaborate pysanky (writing on eggs) using commercial dyes and a variety of strongly colored patterns. Christenson gained recognition as a master of this art form,...

read more

Obo Addy (1996)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 88-89

Obo Addy, the son of a healer, was born into a Ga family in southern Ghana. By the age of six, he was known as a master drummer because he had learned all the elements of drumming for the necessary healing rituals. As a teenager he took up some more popular forms of urban music, such as Highlife, emerging in the capital, Accra. After moving to Portland in 1978, he formed two groups that reflected his eclectic interests: Okropong (eagle), dedicated to traditional tribal music of Ghana, and Kukrudu (earthquake), drawing on popular and jazz musical styles. He founded Portland’s annual Homowo (harvest) festival of African music and, through an organization...

read more

Vernon Owens (1996)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 90-91

Vernon Owens grew up in the Piedmont area of North Carolina, historically known for its good clay and, not surprisingly, plentiful potteries. As a youth, Owens worked beside his father at a kick-powered pottery wheel in the pottery of his grandfather J. H. Owens. In 1960 he took a job at Jugtown Pottery. At that time, the pottery businesses in North Carolina were flagging and, to make matters worse, the use of lead glazes constituted a hazard to consumers and potters alike. In 1968 a notfor-profit organization, Country Roads, took over the Jugtown Pottery, and Vernon worked with the organization to create safer and more attractive glazes while developing new marketing strategies. A central leader in what became a regional pottery revival...

read more

Ramón José López (1997)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 92-93

Ramón López, whose grandfather was a renowned santero (saint carver) but had passed away prior to Ramón’s birth, was inspired to take up Spanish colonial metalworking in the 1970s. His efforts made a significant contribution to the revival of Hispanic craft in the region but also served as a gateway to the exploration of many craft pursuits on his part. He studied the works of nineteenth-century master santeros, and, using the tools of his grandfather, he began to carve and paint retablos (twodimensional portrayals of saints and other sacred images), bultos (three-dimensional images), and reredos (painted altar screens). Throughout his career, López has combined his creative and...

read more

Julius Epstein, of the Epstein Brothers (1998)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 94-95

Julius Epstein, along with his three brothers, Max, William, and Isidore, formed the Epstein Brothers Orchestra after World War II, and in the 1950s they became known as the “kings of klezmer.” Klezmer music often accompanied dancing and was also performed in Yiddish theatrical productions. Usually led by the clarinet, rendered as if imitating a weeping voice, klezmer ensembles in the United States often incorporated elements of jazz, resulting in their own unique style. With the influx of Hasidic Jews to New York after the war, the brothers were much in demand to perform at weddings, bar mitzvahs, and other family celebrations. They made numerous recordings on small ethnic labels throughout their career. Julius Epstein anchored...

read more

Alfredo Campos (1999)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 96-97

Although Alfredo Campos spent most of his professional life working with the tools utilized in the construction of aircraft for the Boeing Company in the state of Washington, his cultural roots go back to ranching life in Arizona. As a young man he became fascinated with rawhide and horsehair weaving essential in the work of ranch hands. Campos practiced the intricate skill of hitching horsehair, a feat that in modern times has been more frequently associated with work produced by prisoners with abundant time on their hands. Campos is proud to say that he practiced the skill under other circumstances, but the requirements are no less onerous—pieces incorporate up to 30,000 hitches...

read more

Elliott “Ellie” Mannette (1999)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 98-99

Ellie Mannette is known as the “father of the modern steel drum.” Born in Trinidad, he first played in Carnival at the age of eleven. The steel drum came into being after the British colonial government banned the use of conventional drums, fearing the violence they associated with them, and Trinidadians began using metal household implements in their place. After the Second World War, Carnival was reinstated, and oil drum lids became the preferred raw material for the instruments. Mannette, a machinist by trade, retooled the surface of the lid to make it concave and tempered it with heat to produce...

read more

Frisner Augustin (1999)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 100-101

Raised in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood Cité Soleil, Frisner Augustin followed his drummer uncle as an initiate in the Santería religion that involves worship of Yoruba deities blended with Catholic saints called orishas or santos. He started off playing the ogan, a bell-like rhythmic instrument, and by the time he was ten years old he had moved from basic instruments to the master drum. At that point, he went through the initiation ceremony and assumed the responsibility of “making the drum talk”. In 1971 Augustin came to the United States, and by 1982 he had assembled a performing ensemble, La Troupe Makandal....

read more

Jimmy “Slyde” Godbolt (1999)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 102-103

Jimmy Godbolt’s mother wanted him to learn to play the violin. At the age of ten he discovered that across the street from the music school where he was taking lessons was a tap dance studio, and that captured his imagination. Forsaking the violin, in that studio he was able to observe and learn from some of the masters of tap dance, including Jimmy Mitchell, who used the name “Sir Slyde.” After a while the two Jimmys began touring New England clubs and burlesque houses as the Slyde Brothers. They became regular dancers with the likes of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong. With the decline of interest in tap and jazz, Jimmy Slyde moved to Europe, where he found more...

read more

Mick Moloney (1999)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 104-105

Born in Limerick, Ireland, Mick Moloney took up the tenor banjo at the age of sixteen. Like many of that era, he became a fan of popular American folksingers of the early sixties, but he soon realized that there were great traditional musicians performing in parlors and pubs all around him in the South of Ireland. He performed in folk groups in Dublin in the early 1960s and then joined a group called the Johnstons that went on to have considerable commercial success. He came to the United States in 1973 to study folklore at the University of Pennsylvania. Although he pursued his scholarly studies, attaining a doctorate in the subject, Moloney also became aware that he was surrounded...

read more

Ulysses “Uly” Goode (1999)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 106-107

Many tribal groups use handmade cradleboards to hold and carry infants during the early years of their lives. Often the carriers have both functional and ceremonial significance, and today their use makes a statement about tribal heritage and identity. In the case of the Western Mono tribe in California, Uly Goode served as both the maker and the master of identifying and understanding the natural materials essential to the art of basketmaking. The gathering and preparation of sedge roots, redbud shoots, and sourberry sticks provide the basic material for his artistic creations. Goode made over 450 baskets in his lifetime, and his cradleboards were featured in the exhibition...

read more

Felipe García Villamil (2000)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 108-109

Born in Matanzas, Cuba, Felipe García Villamil has a strong connection to three strains of Afro-Cuban rituals and belief— his mother’s family included practitioners of the Yoruba-based Santeria religion as well as performers of the province’s folk music, the rumba; while his father’s side of the family came from the Kongo religion of West Africa. While in Cuba, he directed a folkloric performing group called Emikeke. It is not surprising that Felipe became one of the most versatile and well-grounded artists to come to the United States during the period of the Mariel boatlift. After settling in New York, where he re-formed Emikeke, the group became well known on the East Coast. Later he relocated to California, where he continues to perform. Although known for his musicianship, Villamil is equally famous...

read more

Joe Willie “Pinetop” Perkins (2000)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 110-111

It is often said that even though the Mississippi River flowed southward, the blues flowed northward. Pinetop Perkins was born on the Honey Island Plantation, just south of Belzoni, Mississippi, and as a teenager played in clubs in the region, earning the nickname “Pinetop” because he was known for playing Pinetop Smith’s “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie.” His reputation spread as a result of appearances on live radio shows such as the King Biscuit Time broadcast from Helena, Arkansas. Eventually his musical journey took him to Chicago, where he became an integral member of Muddy Waters’s band. His piano performances animated and defined the sound of Waters’s band for over ten years. In the latter stage of his career he...

read more

Konstantinos Pilarinos (2000)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 112-113

Orphaned at the age of thirteen, Konstantinos Pilarinos was sent to a foster home in Piraeus, where, at fifteen, due to an interest in woodcarving, he apprenticed to master woodworkers. Within three years he had his own woodworking shop. In 1974 he came to New York City, where he has continued to carve religious screens, pulpits, and thrones for Orthodox churches in the Byzantine style. Today he estimates that there are fewer than a dozen master carvers in the world who still work in this intricate tradition. One of his iconostasia (icon screens), at fifty-six feet long, is said to be the largest of its kind in the Americas.

Konstantinos Pilarinos maintains a workshop, called the Byzantion Woodworking Company, in the Greek neighborhood...

read more

Evalena Henry (2001)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 114-115

The San Carlos Apache have become widely known for their basketmaking skills. At the age of fifteen Evalena Henry began weaving baskets, learning from her mother, a master who continued to weave until she was eighty-nine. Evalena’s specialty became the burden basket, a large and attractive ceremonial container used in the Sunrise Dance, a comingof-age ceremony for Apache girls. Burden baskets have intricate designs, sometimes with the girl’s name woven in, and must be tightly woven to maintain their shape and bear the weight of the sacred objects placed in them for the ceremony...

read more

João Oliveira Dos Santos (João Grande) (2001)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 116-117

Mestre João Grande is one of only a handful of grand masters of capoeira in the world. Born in the Bahia state of Brazil, he studied with Mestre Pastinha, who had a famous Capoeira Academy in Salvador, known as the birthplace of this AfroBrazilian form of martial arts that includes music, acrobatics, ritual, and belief. Because he was referred to Pastinha by another player of capoeira named João Pequeno (Little John) he was given the name João Grande (Big John). Capoeira Angola is usually performed or played by two individuals who maneuver in the center of a circle (roda) of musicians who...

read more

Peter Kyvelos (2001)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 118-119

Armenian musician and National Heritage Fellow Richard Hagopian has called Peter Kyvelos the Stradivarius of oud makers. Kyvelos, born of an immigrant father and first-generation Greek mother, became interested in the oud, a lute-like instrument, when he first heard it played on his father’s 78 rpm recordings of Greek music. During his college years he performed on the oud, but his real passion was learning how to make the instrument, and he began working part time in a violin maker’s shop. When he returned to Massachusetts, he set up his own shop not far from the Watertown area known as “Little Armenia.” Kyvelos was recognized across the United States for the...

read more

Qi Shu Fang (2001)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 120-121

Qi Shu Fang began to study Beijing Opera at the age of four and continued her pursuits at the Shanghai Dramatic School. Beijing Opera, a form of musical theater that incorporates song, drama, martial arts, and exuberant acrobatics, had traditionally been performed solely by males, but after 1949 women began to assume roles, and Ms. Qi was central to that evolution. At the age of eighteen, she was picked by Chairman Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, to play the female lead in the opera Capturing Tiger Mountain. She became a star and appeared in numerous operas and films of performances after that time—eventually being awarded the title “National Treasure of China.” In 1988...

read more

Seiichi Tanaka (2001)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 122-123

Seiichi Tanaka founded the first taiko dojo (taiko school) in North America in 1968. He attended the 1967 Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco’s Japantown and was amazed to see that there was no taiko drumming. The son of a professional baseball player who also had an athletic bent, he returned to Japan to study with masters of taiko. He came back to San Francisco a year later to perform at the annual festival and to found the San Francisco Taiko Dojo. Taiko is a form of ritual drumming that incorporates meditation, philosophy, martial arts, and choreography. Performance on the barrel-shaped drums of many sizes is accompanied by vigorous movement, shouts, and the playing of woodwinds such as the shakuhachi. Today taiko...

read more

Flory Jagoda (2002)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 124-125

Born in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Flory Jagoda learned songs from her grandmother, or “nona” as she calls her, who knew the musical traditions passed down through their Sephardic Jewish family. Sephardic Jews, sometimes referred to as Ladinos, settled in the Baltic region after they were forced into exile from Spain and Portugal in the fifteenth century. When Flory was seventeen, her father, becoming aware of the impending danger to Jewish residents, told Flory she had to flee. He gave her a forged train ticket, with a non-Jewish name, and her accordion. Flory says that she played the accordion to allay her fears, and the conductor on the train never even asked her for her ticket. Later she was to learn that forty-two of her family members...

read more

Jean Ritchie (2002)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 126-127

Jean Ritchie grew up in Viper, Kentucky, a coal-mining community in the Cumberland Mountains. Her family sang ballads, play-party (singing game) songs, and religious hymns, accompanying themselves with a variety of stringed instruments, including the banjo, guitar, dulcimer, and fiddle. Although there were limited resources for Ritchie, the youngest of fourteen children, she was able to go to the University of Kentucky, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in social work. Eventually this led her to New York, where she worked at the Henry Street Settlement. There Ritchie connected with the nascent folk revival thanks to meeting Alan Lomax, who encouraged her to perform publicly and to write a book about her life and songs. In...

read more

Losang Samten (2002)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 128-129

Born in Tibet, Losang Samten escaped from the persecution of the People’s Liberation Army with his family as a youth, eventually joining exiles in Dharamsala, India. Venerable Lama Losang attended the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts and later entered the Namgyal Monastery of the Dalai Lama, where he studied mandala painting. Monks and artists who train in creating sand mandalas have to memorize five hundred pages of sacred text and learn the chants and rituals associated with the practice. In 1988 he was instructed by the Dalai Lama to come to the United States to teach this art form, and today he is a spiritual adviser to a number of Buddhist Centers across the United States. He also teaches at a charter school administered by the Philadelphia Folklore Project...

read more

Nadim Dlaikan (2002)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 130-131

Nadim Dlaikan, who grew up in Lebanon, was discouraged from playing the nye, an end-blown reed flute, because the instrument was associated with lowly shepherds. In spite of that, he went on to study at the Lebanese Conservatory with the country’s premier flute player. After moving to Beirut, Dlaikan traveled throughout the Middle East as part of a folk troupe. In 1969 he performed at a Fourth of July party at the United States Embassy, and this led to an invitation to play elsewhere in the United States. A few years later he came and settled in the Detroit area, home to the largest Arab community in the nation. He is much sought after for performances at celebrations across the region, often appearing with ensembles that...

read more

Monoochehr Sadeghi (2003)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 132-133

Born in Tehran, Iran, Manoochehr Sadeghi was attracted at an early age to the santur, a Persian instrument that resembles the hammered dulcimer. He became the star pupil of master Persian classical musician Abol Hassan Saba. By the time Sadeghi was twenty he was serving as a faculty member at the Conservatory of Persian National Music. In 1964 he came to Los Angeles, where he assumed a central role in the large Iranian cultural community. He also has taught in UCLA’s Department of Ethnomusicology and maintains a career as a composer and performer of traditional Persian music. In addition, he has collaborated with jazz and classical artists in live performance and on recordings....

read more

Nicholas Toth (2003)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 134-135

In the 1880s the sponge industry was introduced in the city of Tarpon Springs, but not until 1905 did sponge diving become the favored technique for harvesting the product. Settlers from the Greek Islands, where sponge diving is common, soon immigrated to the city. Nicholas Toth’s grandfather, Antonios Lerios, who was born on the Dodecanese island of Kalymnos, came to Florida in 1913 and established a reputation as an innovative craftsman of maritime hardware. He designed a one-piece diving helmet made of spun copper that became the preferred gear for Tarpon Springs’ divers. Nicholas apprenticed himself to his grandfather, and, although he...

read more

Norman Kennedy (2003)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 136-137

When Norman Kennedy came to the United States in 1965 to perform at the Newport Folk Festival on a program entitled “Origins of the American Ballad Tradition,” he came not only with a wealth of songs passed down from his Scottish family members, but also with weaving skills that he had learned from his travels to the Outer Hebrides islands. A year later, Ralph Rinzler, the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Festival of American Folklife, asked Kennedy to help document traditional crafts in the United States. He eventually ended up in residence as the master weaver at Colonial Williamsburg. In 1974 he founded the Marshfield School of Weaving in Vermont, where he offers...

read more

Basque Poets (Bertsolari) Martin Goicoechea and Jesus Goni (2003)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 138-139

It is not surprising that language plays a significant role in Basque identity, as many Basques refer to themselves as Euskaldunak, or “speakers of Basque.” Basques who came to the western United States to herd sheep brought their language, foodways, music, and dance. Sheepherders often entertained themselves through improvisational poetry (bertsolaritza) featuring two or more competitors who sing rhyming stanzas based on assigned topics related to life or current events. Encouraged or even prompted by their audience, the subjects could be lost love, lost wages, or lost sheep. Martin Goicoechea and Jesus Goni, as well as Jesus Arriada and Johnny Curutchet, who also...

read more

Jerry Douglas (2004)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 140-141

Jerry Douglas has performed on more than 1,600 albums since he first took the stage as a teenager. Starting out playing guitar with his father, a steelworker in Warren, Ohio, he took up the Dobro (resonator guitar) after hearing Josh Graves play with Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys. Just out of high school, Douglas went to Washington, DC, and was recruited to play with the influential band, the Country Gentlemen. Although bluegrass bands have often treated the Dobro as a backup instrument, Douglas’s sensitive ear and broad musical vocabulary have foregrounded his skills both on stage and in the studio. He has been a fixture in bands such as Alison Krauss...

read more

Milan Opacich (2004)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 142-143

Milan Opacich grew up in the Calumet region of Indiana, the son of a Croatian mother and Serbian father. His mother was not able to worship with the Croatian Catholics because she married a Serbian, and the Serbian Orthodox Church would not accept his mother because she was Croatian. At the age of four Milan expressed an interest in music and his father made him an instrument of plywood and rubber bands. Playing country music in the early stages of his teenage years, by the time he was eighteen he renewed an interest in tamburitza, a form of music rooted in Serbia and Croatia, and performed on a variety of string instruments. Because there were few tamburitza instrument...

read more

Yuqin Wang and Zhengli Xu (2004)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 144-145

Prior to coming to the United States in 1996, Yuqin Wang and Zhengli Xu served as puppeteers with the Beijing Puppet Theater. Xu was known for his construction of puppets and as a creator of new stories, while Wang, previously trained at the Beijing Opera School, was lauded as a performer. Their specialty, presenting theatrical pieces incorporating human figures and animals mounted on rods, has a history that dates at least to the Han Dynasty in China. Upon arriving in Oregon, the pair founded their own puppetry troupe, Dragon Arts Studio, and within a year received an invitation to perform at the Atlanta Summer Olympics. Working with their...

read more

Chuck Brown (2005)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 146-147

Widely recognized as the “Godfather of Go-Go,” Chuck Brown turned a mix of Latin beats, African American call and response lyrics, soul music, and jazz into a unique musical style now identified with Washington, DC. Brown formed a group named the Soul Searchers, and in 1971 they recorded “We the People,” incorporating the sound that came to be known as Go-Go. In 1978 an album titled Bustin’ Loose, with a single of the same name, became a number one seller and exposed the musical style to a national audience. Still largely a regional phenomenon, today Go-Go can be heard in the clubs of the District of Columbia and also on the street corners, as bucket...

read more

Eldrid Skjold Arntzen (2005)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 148-149

Rosemaling, a decorative technique involving painting on wooden utilitarian objects and furnishings, came to the United States with Scandinavian immigrants in the nineteenth century. Eldrid Arntzen, the daughter of immigrants, grew up in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, home to a large Norwegian population. She started painting at the age of ten, but in her youth she was more interested in portraying conventional subjects, such as still life and landscapes. After seeing postcards of rosemaling from the Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa, she began to pursue this form of painting. Lessons from teachers in the Midwest and trips back to Norway to study resulted in her mastery of the multiple regional styles...

read more

Herminia Albarrán Romero (2005)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 150-151

Herminia Albarrán Romero learned the traditional craft of papel picado (paper cutting) from her mother while growing up in the small Mexican village of San Francisco de Asís. Intricately cut paper designs are used to decorate spaces on special occasions such as quinceañeras (fifteen-year-olds’ coming-of-age ceremonies), weddings, and Cinco de Mayo or Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. After moving to the Mission District of San Francisco in 1981, she began to teach papel picado to young students and rekindled an interest in Pan para los Muertos (Bread for the Dead) activities. Today she is known internationally for her altar...

read more

Delores E. Churchill (2006)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 152-153

Delores Churchill was born in the Queen Charlotte Islands of the Northwest Coast and learned weaving from her mother at a time when there were only three active Alaskan Haida weavers. Her mother, Selina Peratovich, one of those three weavers, asked her daughter to burn her baskets for the first five years of her apprenticeship because “I am well known for my baskets. If you say you learned from me, you better be good.” Churchill learned well, becoming a master weaver of baskets, hats, robes, and regalia, using spruce root, cedar bark, wool, and natural dyes. In turn, she taught her four daughters and numerous other students of Alaska Native culture. She has said that as...

read more

Henry Gray (2006)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 154-155

Henry Gray grew up on a farm near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but by the time he was twelve he had spent most of his time playing piano at juke joints and in churches near home. After service during World War II, like many other Southerners he moved to Chicago. Playing in clubs on the South Side, he encountered one of the formidable blues pianists of the time, Big Maceo Merriweather. Merriweather served as a liaison with club owners and other musicians, and following a period of apprenticeship, Gray joined Howlin’ Wolf ’s band. For the next twelve years he toured and made some of the recordings that today define the Chicago blues sound. He also served as a session musician, recording with blues giants Sonny Boy Williamson...

read more

Irvin L. Trujillo (2007)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 156-157

The village of Chimayo, north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, has been a home to textile weavers since the earliest influx of Spanish colonists in the late seventeenth century. In that region, the two names most closely associated with weaving are Trujillo and Ortega, and both appear on Irvin Trujillo’s family tree. There is documentation of a weaver, Nicholas Gabriel Ortega, who was an ancestor of his grandmother, weaving in Chimayo as early as 1729. It would be a mistake, however, to understand his weaving skills as rooted solely in the past. Although he started weaving at his father’s side at the age of ten, Trujillo graduated from college in civil engineering and initially pursued a career in that field. After he married Lisa, also an extraordinary weaver, in 1982, the couple decided to open the Centinela Traditional Arts Studio. Today...

read more

Joe Thompson (2007)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 158-159

While the history of African Americans playing string instruments can be traced to the earliest years of the slave trade and our country’s settlement, in the twentieth century it was relatively uncommon to hear African Americans playing string band tunes in the upland South. Joe Thompson and his brother Odell grew up in the Piedmont region of North Carolina and followed in the footsteps of their father, uncle, and grandfather (who was a slave) in taking up fiddle and banjo. Much in demand, they played at house parties and local celebrations. Most of the tunes they played had a syncopated, hard-driving style meant to propel dancers on the floor and were enlivened with interjections of dance calls or sung verses. In later years, Joe Thompson...

read more

Julia Parker (2007)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 160-161

Born into a Miwok-Pomo family in California, Julia Parker was orphaned at a young age and eventually was sent to get her education at Stewart Indian School near Carson City, Nevada. There she met her future husband, Ralph Parker, whose grandmother Lucy Telles was a master Mono Lake Paiute basketmaker who demonstrated her skills at Yosemite National Park. After school, Ralph and Julia moved to the Yosemite region, where Julia apprenticed with the elder basket weavers still working in the area. Soon she was demonstrating in the Yosemite National Park herself—teaching tribal traditions, including the gathering of raw materials, weaving of baskets, and making of acorn meal and mush. Since 1989, in addition to crafting...

read more

Nicholas Benson (2007)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 162-163

Master stone carver and calligrapher Nicholas Benson plies his trade from a shop in Newport, Rhode Island, that is said to be the oldest continuously operating trade business in the United States, founded by John Stephens in 1705. The shop and tools were purchased by Benson’s grandfather in 1926. Nick apprenticed with his father and also spent a year in Basel, Switzerland, learning calligraphy and letter design from European masters. Now recognized as a master himself, his work includes stone carving and lettering for the National Gallery of Art, the World War II Memorial, the Kennedy Center, and the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, DC. He was recently featured...

read more

Bettye Kimbrell (2008)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 164-165

Bettye Kimbrell grew up on a subsistence farm in Alabama at a time when quilting was a practical necessity. Under the supervision of her grandmother, she first learned to make bed covers using scraps of cloth that were then tied to a backing made of feed sacks, with a batting of cotton taken from the fields. Her grandmother admonished her that “stitches reflected your character.” She heeded that advice, and by the time she moved to Mt. Olive, a Birmingham department store began referring customers to her to finish quilting their pieced tops. On her own, she began experimenting with more complex patterns and with white-on-white quilts that draw attention to the precise needlework. She developed a method of leaf-pounding on the fabric to stain patterns on the surface of the quilt....

read more

Horace P. Axtell (2008)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 166-167

Horace Axtell was an elder and spiritual leader of the Niimiipuu Longhouse. Raised by his grandmother, he spoke only Nez Perce until he went to school. He joined the army when he was in high school to fight in World War II, and his platoon was one of the first expeditionary forces to enter Nagasaki after the atomic bomb was dropped. After the war, he returned to Idaho and worked at the Potlach Mill in Lewiston, while at the same time studying the religious beliefs and practices of his tribe. He began to experiment with making the drums, a central element of Nez Perce traditional ceremonies, and he made a point of learning the songs as well. Eventually Axtell became the spiritual leader of the Niimiipuu (Nez Perce) Longhouse and played a pivotal role in the revival of the Seven Drum Religion...

read more

Jeronimo E. Lozano (2008)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 168-169

The retablo, a devotional painting rooted in Spanish Catholicism, evolved in Peru during the twentieth century to become a vehicle for commentary on everyday life. Visual narratives are often presented in a shallow box behind two hinged doors. Jeronimo Lozano, raised in a small village in the Andes, attended a regional school of fine arts and after graduation traveled around the country interviewing traditional artists. He established a studio in Ayachucho, and his reputation as an artist spread, attracting the attention of the “Shining Path” (guerrilla fighters). Fearing for his life, he sought asylum in Salt Lake City while touring the United States...

read more

Mac Wiseman (2008)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 170-171

Although his singing skills earned him the title “the voice with a heart,” Malcolm B. “Mac” Wiseman is as well-known for his role as a bluegrass and country music advocate and entrepreneur as for his voice. He grew up in the Shenandoah Valley, and by the age of fourteen he was performing the music that he heard from his parents at home and that he was able to pick up from radio broadcasts on the Grand Ole Opry. In 1946 country artist Molly O’Day hired him to accompany her, and following that stint he became an original member with Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and the Foggy Mountain Boys, before joining Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys as a lead singer. His smooth tenor voice can be heard on many recordings of this era, and in 1951 he broke away to form his own group built around his...

read more

Michael G. White (2008)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 172-173

Dr. Michael White grew up in a family of musicians and played clarinet in one of New Orleans’ fabled marching bands, but it was his apprenticeship with some of the city’s traditional musicians that set him on a course to explore jazz history. He learned from Danny Barker, a banjo player in Cab Calloway’s band, among others, and Doc Paulin, leader of one of the noted parade bands marching for funerals and festive events. After obtaining a doctorate at Xavier University in Spanish language, he has continued to perform traditional jazz, often collaborating with Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center. In the process he has accumulated not only knowledge of jazz history but a collection of rare sheet music, antique instruments, and recordings. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina flooded his...

read more

Moges Seyoum (2008)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 174-175

Moges Seyoum is the director of liturgical services at an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church in Washington, DC. Granted asylum, he came to the United States in 1982, where he is acknowledged throughout the Ethiopian diaspora for his knowledge of church music and ritual. Seyoum’s father, a church musician, initiated his son’s training when he reached the age of eight. By the time Seyoum was seventeen he received the title ganygeta (“the leader of the right hand side”) because he was considered qualified to lead one of the two choirs in his church in Ethiopia. Today, it is said that he can perform from memory the complete Ethiopian psalter, and he is known as the only US expert in choreographing the elaborate movements...

read more

Sue Yeon Park (2008)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 176-177

Sue Yeon Park studied with two masters of Korean dance and music, Yi Mae-bang and Ti Chang-bae, both recognized as Korean “Living National Treasures,” an honorific award similar to, but predating, the National Heritage Fellowships in the United States. After coming to New York in 1982, she formed a dance group specializing in Buddhist ritual dance, shaman ritual dance, and Korean folk songs and music. In 1993, she founded the Korean Traditional Performing Arts Association in order to teach students and present Korean arts and culture. In addition, she teaches classes at Camp Friendship in New Jersey, which serves Korean-born adopted children....

read more

Walter Murray Chiesa (2008)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 178-179

Walter Murray Chiesa received the Bess Lomax Hawes National Heritage Fellowship for his efforts to draw attention to and support the craft traditions of Puerto Rico. His work led to a renaissance of craft activity on the island and a deeper understanding of cultural knowledge that was being lost. He traveled around the island documenting craftspeople and then initiated programs aiding and featuring traditional artists. Chiesa founded the Office of Crafts Development, which later became part of the Puerto Rican Industrial Development Corporation. Through this organization, he instituted an annual Month of the Craftsman and the designation...

read more

Chitresh Das (2009)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 180-181

Pandit (Master) Chitresh Das traveled to the United States in 1970 with eight dollars in his pocket. He had received a Whitney Fellowship to study modern Western dance and teach his own Kathak dance techniques. Kathak, a Northern Indian dance style, conveys stories through dramatic facial expressions, vigorous gestures, and percussive foot movement. In his twenties, Das had been given the honorary title pandit, or master, as he had grown up absorbing dance and cultural knowledge and skills in his parents’ dance school in Calcutta. After a year teaching at the University of Maryland, Das was invited to join the school of sarod master Ali Akbar Khan in California as a teacher. In 1979 he founded his own school, Chhandam...

read more

Joel Nelson (2009)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 182-183

The son of a rancher, Joel Nelson has worked as a cowboy at the 06 Ranch near Alpine, Texas, as a custom saddlemaker, as a packer in Wyoming and Montana, and as a horse breaker for the King Ranch in Texas and the Parker Ranch in Hawaii. He is a reciter and writer of cowboy poetry, reflecting his experiences with cattle and horses. A lover of classic and contemporary poetry, he writes verse about the general human condition. His recording The Breaker in the Pen is the only cowboy poetry ever nominated for a Grammy. Today he and his wife, Sylvia, operate the 24,000-acre Anchor Ranch in Alpine and raise Corriente cattle.

For the photograph, Joel Nelson took Tom Pich and his daughter, Eliza, across his ranchland on horseback. A storm blew up and lightning flashed on the rim of the canyon, so they...

read more

Teri Rofkar (2009)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 184-185

Teri Rofkar, born into the Raven Clan, spent a lifetime researching Tlingit material culture. She wove spruce and cedar root baskets and was known for her depth of knowledge of the flora used in basketry, often instructing students in the process of gathering raw materials in the forests. One of her great contributions to Alaska Native cultural heritage was her research into and revival of the weaving of the Ravenstail robe. These intricate robes, most of which require between 800 and 1,400 hours of work, are woven using spruce root and mountain goat wool in abstract geometric patterns that require both consistency of design and precision of execution. Not content, though, to merely pay homage to this 6,000-year-old tradition, as her last...

read more

Jim “Texas Shorty” Chancellor (2010)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 186-187

Jim Chancellor started his musical career at the age of nine, playing the mandolin with his brother on a radio station in what was called The Texas Al and Shorty Show, thus his nickname “Texas Shorty.” As a teenager, he heard the legendary fiddler Benny Thomasson and soon was studying with him. The state of Texas has a long history of fiddle contests and contest fiddlers. Chancellor is credited as the youngest fiddler, at the age of sixteen, to win the World Championship Fiddle Contest at Crockett. He went on to win the contest the next two years and, as a result, was “retired” from the contest while still a teenager. Subsequently, he was inducted into the Texas Fiddler Hall of Fame. While Chancellor went...

read more

Mary Jackson (2010)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 188-189

Although Mary Jackson initially learned the art of sweetgrass basketmaking from her mother and grandmother at the age of four, she left Low Country South Carolina after high school to attend secretarial school in New York, settling there to work ten years for a life insurance company. Ultimately, she moved back to her home state and took up basketry again. Her return coincided with and energized a revival in this regionally significant craft. Jackson innovated on traditional forms, drawing the attention of collectors around the world. As a founding member of the Mount Pleasant Sweetgrass Basketmakers, she speaks eloquently about environmental...

read more

Frank Newsome (2011)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 190-191

Frank Newsome worked in the coal mines of southwest Virginia for seventeen years, drilling into the overhead surface of tunnels to test whether they were safe. Not surprisingly, he developed black lung disease, and he left the mines to serve as a minister in the Old Regular Baptist Church. Known throughout the region for his singing ability, Newsome performs religious hymns in the old a cappella style of lining out that can be traced to Scottish Presbyterianism. It dates to a time when congregants either didn’t have or couldn’t read hymnals and involves the song leader’s chanting or singing the words of a line, followed by the congregation rendering the verse in a slow mournful but ornamented refrain. Newsome gained some attention when...

read more

Warner Williams (2011)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 192-193

Often referred to as a “songster” due to his eclectic repertoire and broad-ranging musical stylings, Warner Williams grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, a cultural and geographic crossroads. His father played guitar, fiddle, and piano, while his mother sang hymns, so it is not surprising that he and all eight of his brothers and three sisters performed music while growing up. Most often Warner’s fingerpicking technique on the guitar draws from older Piedmont blues styles, but his choice of songs might range from country and western to deep Delta—Hank Williams to Big Joe Williams, if you will. Because he doesn’t care to travel great distances from home, he remains a local and regional favorite, often performing with a trio called Little Bit A Blues....

read more

Harold A. Burnham (2012)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 194-195

The town of Essex, Massachusetts, where the Burnham family has lived for eleven generations, has been a shipbuilding hub since the 1630s. Most of the 4,000 ships built over a period of 400 years were for the Gloucester fishing fleet, but after World War II, steel and fiberglass vessels began to replace those made of wood, and the knowledge and skills of wood-frame construction went into decline. Harold Burnham, a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, initiated the revival of wooden shipbuilding techniques with the completion of a sixty-five-foot Gloucester schooner, the Thomas E. Lannon, in 1996. The Lannon, built for cultural tourism, was intended to...

read more

Leonardo “Flaco” Jiménez (2012)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 196-197

Flaco Jiménez learned to play the accordion at the side of his father, Santiago Jiménez Sr., a pioneer of conjunto tejano or norteno music. This style of music, sometimes called Tex-Mex, features the accordion as the lead instrument and combines Mexican traditions with German, Polish, and Czech musical sounds and repertoire. Flaco, or skinny, a name he inherited from his father, built his reputation playing in bars and dance halls in San Antonio. In the 1960s he entered the rock and roll realm, performing with Doug Sahm in a group called the Sir Douglas Quintet. This led to performances and recordings with other popular musicians, including Ry Cooder and the Rolling Stones. In the 1990s he joined a super-group called...

read more

Molly Neptune Parker (2012)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 198-199

Born in Indian Township, Maine, Molly Neptune Parker traces her basketmaking roots to her great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, and aunts. Originally, this tradition involved the harvesting and pounding of the black ash tree and then splitting the growth rings into thick strips to make functional baskets. At one point, she and her husband, George Neptune, were weaving one hundred scale baskets a week, containers used in the fishing industry for collecting fish scales, an ingredient of nail polish. Today, Parker is best known for her inventive use of ash and sweetgrass to make highly decorative “fancy” baskets in the shape of acorns or strawberries, as well as others designed to be used as sewing baskets, with distinctive flower patterns on the lids. She has served as the president of the Maine Indian...

read more

Nicolae Feraru (2013)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 200-201

Born in Bucharest, Romania, Nicolae Feraru learned the music of the minstrels, or lautari, of Roma culture. Feraru’s father, who was also a musician, warned him about taking up music because it would mean repeated, sleepless stretches performing for weekend-long weddings. Nicolae ignored the advice and became known as a master musician on the cimbalom, an instrument resembling a hammered dulcimer with 128 strings. For many years he played in restaurants in Bucharest and made influential recordings. When the political situation in Romania began to deteriorate, especially for Roma people, he seized an opportunity in 1988 to tour Canada and the United States, where he sought political asylum and eventually settled in Chicago. He continues to perform at festivals...

read more

Ramón “Chunky” Sánchez (2013)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 202-203

The child of farmworker parents, Ramón “Chunky” Sánchez grew up working in the fields and listening to music that articulated and propelled the causes of the laborers in the fields. As he himself began to compose and sing songs of the movement, he was often asked by César Chávez to perform at United Farm Workers union rallies and marches. While attending San Diego State University, he joined folkloric musical groups, eventually founding, with his brother, an ensemble, Los Alacranes (The Scorpions), that proved to be central in the emerging Chicano music movement in southern California. He was also active in saving a small plot of land under the San Diego Coronado Bridge that had been scheduled for...

read more

Verónica Castillo (2013)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 204-205

Verónica Castillo was born in the Mexican state of Puebla into a family that has been known for generations for its achievements in the ceramic arts. Her great-grandfather produced functional clay candelabras and incense burners, but relied on farming to earn a living. It was her grandmother who revived the pottery business and expanded the process of pottery making to include decorative pieces. Her father created figurative pieces, most famously those called “Tree of Life” sculptures. Originally meant to be wedding gifts, Tree of Life sculptures depicted Adam and Eve and portrayed scenes of community life. Verónica Castillo, who emigrated to the United States at the age of twenty-four, has been active as a teacher of ceramic arts and is known for her imaginative and complex clay figures. Her work often incorporates...

read more

Henry Arquette (2014)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 206-207

Henry Arquette was a retired ironworker who, like many young Mohawk men, worked on the construction of skyscrapers and bridges in the northeastern United States to earn a living, supplementing his income by constructing ash baskets. Most were utilitarian pack, laundry, picnic, and corn-washing baskets made out of black ash. After Arquette retired, he returned to the Akwesasne Reservation near the border between New York State and Canada and taught basketmaking skills at cultural centers and in museums around the region. Because the black ash tree has become threatened due to overharvesting and insect infestation, Arquette was also an active advocate for protecting forest resources. In 2001 he received the Ralph...

read more

Dolly Jacobs (2015)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 208-209

Not unlike many traditional art forms, the knowledge and skills of circus performers are passed along through families. Dolly Jacobs, a circus aerialist who is known as the “Queen of the Air,” was born to parents who were part of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus community. The face of her father, Lou Jacobs, is perhaps the most recognizable of the circus clowns’, as it became the iconic image for Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey and was depicted on a US postage stamp. Dolly specialized in high-flying and ballet-like performances on the rings and gained a reputation for her physical strength and expressive grace. In 1997 she and her husband, Pedro Reis, who handles her rigging...

read more

Yary Livan (2015)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 210-211

It is thought that Yary Livan is one of only three Cambodian master ceramicists to have survived the Khmer Rouge genocide in the 1970s. His knowledge of building kilns and firing roof tiles saved his life, because members of the Pol Pot regime realized that they needed his skills to make roof tiles for the purpose of construction. After escaping from his oppressors, he moved among refugee camps until coming to the United States in 2001, seeking political asylum. Having matriculated at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh, by 2002 Livan became a visiting artist in the Ceramics Program at Harvard. He taught traditional and contemporary Cambodian sculptural techniques, including modeling, carving, and casting. In 2012 he built a...

read more

Quilters of Gee’s Bend Loretta Pettway, Lucy Mingo, and Mary Lee Bendolph (2015)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 212-213

Nestled in a bend of the Alabama River, the community of Boykin has been known as a center of quilt making since the early nineteenth century, when female slaves sewed together strips of cloth to fashion bedcovers. Some quilters from Gee’s Bend, as Boykin was formerly known, joined the Freedom Quilting Bee during the 1960s as part of that civil rights–era economic initiative. In 2002 the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston put together an exhibition, The Quilts of Gee’s Bend, that displayed these handmade bed coverings as artistic statements. Opening in Houston, the exhibition toured to the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Among the quilters featured in that exhibition, Mary Lee Bendolph, Lucy Mingo, and Loretta Pettway represent...

read more

Billy McComiskey (2016)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 214-215

In his musical journey from Brooklyn to Baltimore, Billy McComiskey was rarely very far from a button accordion, or “box” as he calls it. Growing up surrounded by Irish musicians in New York, he had the opportunity to meet some of the masters who had come to the United States in the first wave of immigration. His godfather owned a pub in the Catskills, often referred to as the Irish Alps because it is where Irish families vacationed in the summer. On one family trip to the Catskills, McComiskey heard the great accordion player Sean McGlynn and said it was like a “horse kicking my head.” McGlynn became his musical mentor and dear friend, and soon McComiskey was winning All-Ireland championships. In the mid-1970s McComiskey, fiddler Brendan Mulvihill, and guitarist Andy O’Brien became the...

read more

Clarissa Rizal (2016)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 216-218

Clarissa Rizal received training in Chilkat blanket weaving from 1986 NEA National Heritage Fellow Jennie Thlunaut. At the time, Thlunaut, 95, was the oldest woman still practicing this art form. Rizal took up her mentor’s challenge to not only learn the skills and knowledge needed for Chilkat weaving, but also to accept the responsibility for teaching others this endangered technique. The Chilkat, the northernmost of the Pacific Coast tribes in Alaska, used twined cedar bark and mountain goat wool to weave rugs that usually depicted animal and clan symbols. In 2016 Rizal organized a “Weavers Across the Water” project, creating a robe composed of fifty-four squares woven by forty weavers and sewn together to celebrate the opening of the Huna Tribal House in Glacier Bay National Park....

read more

Acknowledgments

Tom Pich

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 219-226

First and foremost, I would like to thank my wife, Tara, for without her support over the past twenty-five years, this project would never have happened. One of our first outings together was an excursion looking for an eighty-year-old painting on the side of a barn in northern Connecticut’s tobacco country. In 1995, she gave me a copy of the book Charles Kuralt’s America, and perhaps that was an omen of things to come. Kuralt’s book included accounts of visits to two National Heritage Fellows, Philip Simmons and Wally McRae, and by that time he had emceed the Heritage concert for four years. Tara has been a constant source of encouragement and ideas throughout this journey.

When I set off on my first trip, our daughter Catherine was a one-year-old and Eliza was not yet born. Our daughters have grown and matured along with this portfolio of Heritage portraits,...

Complete List of NEA National Heritage Fellowship Awardees, 1982–2016

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 227-238

Sources for Artist Quotes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 239-250