Whitney Hale

By

College: Fine Arts

Old-time, Folk Music and Dance Take Center Stage at Niles Gallery

Published: Oct 17, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 17, 2013) — The “Appalachia in the Bluegrass” concert series will continue at the University of Kentucky with programs featuring flatfoot dance and old-time music legends. Taking the stage this week is musician and dancer Phil Jamison and fiddler Jesse Wells on Oct. 18. The following week Sue Massek from the Reel World String Band will perform on Oct. 25. Both free public concerts will take place at noon, at the Niles Gallery, located in the Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center.

 

A Flatfoot Tapping Time

Phil Jamison, director of Warren Wilson College’s Appalachian Music Program, is nationally known as a dance caller, old-time musician and flatfoot dancer. For over 30 years he has been calling dances, performing and teaching at music festivals and dance events throughout the U.S. and overseas, including 12 years as a member of the Green Grass Cloggers. His flatfoot dancing was featured in the film, “Songcatcher,” for which he also served as traditional dance consultant. In addition to music, Jamison also teaches mathematics at Warren Wilson and coordinates the Old-Time Music and Dance Week at the Swannanoa Gathering, the college's summer program in traditional music.

 

Jesse Wells first learned fiddle from his father Jamie. He graduated with a degree in guitar performance from Morehead State University and now serves as education coordinator for MSU’s Center for Traditional Music. Wells is a versatile multi-instrumentalist who has played in a number of old-time, bluegrass and rock bands. He currently plays with the Clack Mountain Stringband and Kentucky Wild Horse. Wells also hosts a Sunday afternoon program of old-time and bluegrass music on WMKY 90.3 FM.

 

A 'Reel' World Musician and Activist

Sue Massek performing "William's Poison"

"William's Poison" by Sue Massek. A transcript of this video can be found here.

 

Sue Massek is a musician committed to using the music she writes and the songs she sings as tools for social justice. As a member of the Reel World String Band from its beginning in 1977, she has been heavily influenced by the Highlander Center, which has provided training for grassroots movements beginning in the 1930s. With Reel World String Band, Massek has toured throughout the U.S., Canada and Italy.

 

Massek’s solo work has taken her to Guatemala and Nicaragua, but for three decades she has worked in the schools using folk music, folk dance and folklife as methods of teaching core curriculum and diversity. She was a circuit rider for the Kentucky Arts Council for two years and has also worked as a community scholar in the Kentucky Folklife Program. Massek just recently released a solo recording project, “Brave is the Heart of a Singing Bird,” which is a tribute to those people who influenced her music and activism. She worked as a cultural organizer for the Appalachian Women’s Alliance for three years and the Kentucky Foundation for Women for seven years supporting feminist artists who use their art for social justice. Massek lives with her partner in Willisburg, Ky.

 

The “Appalachia in the Bluegrass” concert series celebrates the old time roots of American folk music by featuring a diverse range of traditional musical expression. The concert series will showcase 13 different artists, duos and groups from southern Appalachia ranging from artists straight off their front porch to those who have earned international acclaim. The concert series is generously presented by the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music, a collaborative research and performance center maintained by the UK College of Fine Arts, UK School of Music and UK Libraries.

 

For more information on the “Appalachia in the Bluegrass” concert series or the programs Phil Jamison and Jesse Wells or Sue Massek, contact Ron Pen, director of the Niles Center, by email to Ron.Pen@uky.edu or visit the website at http://finearts.uky.edu/music/niles.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716whitney.hale@uky.edu

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