Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

The african american experiences in Appalachia

This study takes up one of the threads for future research suggested by Deborah J. Thompson, a previous Appalachian Music Fellow who earlier this year explored representations of race and gender in the three-decade history of the Celebration of Traditional Music, an annual event hosted by Berea College mostly in the fall. A cultural geographer, Thompson examined, among other aspects relating to race and gender, the geographical origins and broad stylistic categories represented by African American musicians who had performed at CTM through the years and suggested further analysis of repertoires and playing styles to “help broaden our understanding of the diversity of African American traditional music, both in the Appalachian region and in America more generally” (Thompson). With guitarists being the strongest contingent among African American performers represented at the CTM and with my 14-year struggle to learn a number of styles of African American guitar music including alternating-thumb picking styles typically associated with Appalachia, I like toimagine that I fit the job description well. With my six thousand album strong music collection and decades ofdedicated listening and mental cataloging of historical musical fact, I could also fancy myself in a good position to study the repertoires of musicians performing in non-guitar genres, although I am sure experts in fiddle and religious musicscan definitely offer greater insights into those genres as represented at...

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