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Appalachian Sound Archives Fellowship Recipients for 2013-2014


Katie Hoffman (Jonesborough, Tennessee )

Katie's research will be in support of a writing project that will document the history of the McLain Family Band and their influence on Appalachian and Bluegrass music, especially during the 1970s and 1980s. The band's founder, Raymond K. McLain was the first Berea faculty to have a formal academic background in Appalachian music. The band's extensive touring in the United States and dozens of other countries took Bluegrass and Appalachian music to audiences who might otherwise not have encountered it. Band members have followed in their father's footsteps teaching college level traditional music.

Coinciding with the bands' 50th anniversary, Katie's research in Berea's McLain Family collection will result in a series of articles and eventually a full-length book.

Katie is a musician, songwriter, and singer and teaches classes in research writing and Southern literature at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has served as traditional music advisor for public programing venues, documentaries, and public school music heritage programs. As an oral historian she has done field work and research in such Appalachian Studies areas as mountain settlement schools, traditional music, and traditional food-ways.

Aisha Ivey

Aisha Ivey (Tallahassee, Florida)

Aisha's research involves documenting the migration of American old time fiddling from the Appalachian region throughout the southeastern United States. She will video record interviews with fiddlers in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia. She will be focusing on documenting stylistic variables, bowing patterns, repertoire, influences, and learning styles in an effort to understand the dynamics of the tradition's migration.

Aisha's efforts will result in a collection of video recordings and transcriptions to be made accessible for future research use in the Berea College Archives. Additional access will be provided through a public presentation and a permanent online exhibit. She will also incorporate the fruits of her documentation work into her classroom teaching and graduate studies at Florida State University.

Aisha played her first fiddle tune at age 10. She continued formal music studies into college and graduate school and has focused on Irish and Scottish fiddle styles as well as American. She teaches the Florida State University Old Time Ensemble, the Tallahassee Youth Orchestra Fiddlers, and is president of the Florida State Fiddlers Association.

Jesse P. Karlsberg

Jesse P. Karlsberg (Atlanta, Georgia)

Jesse's research will involve both study in the Berea Archives and travel conducting oral history interviews. At Berea he will be focusing on audio recordings in the William H. Tallmadge and Rural Hymnody Symposium collections. Oral history interviews will be with members of long-time Sacred Harp singing families in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas. He will use their collections of songbooks as a starting point for wide ranging discussions of their own and relatives' involvement with Sacred Harp and related singing styles.

Jesse's research will result in a collection of audio recordings, transcriptions, and photographs to be made accessible for future research use in the Berea College Archives.

Jesse is a doctoral candidate in American Studies at Emory University and serves as Managing Editor of Southern Spaces, published online by Emory University Libraries. He is also the vice president of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company, publisher of the most widely used contemporary edition of The Sacred Harp, and edits the online Sacred Harp Publishing Company Newsletter.

Joseph O'Connell

Joseph O'Connell (Bloomington, Indiana)

Joe's Fellowship supported research involves documenting banjo player and songwriter Jim Smoak, whose 60-year career includes important contributions to early bluegrass music.

Through a series of sound recorded interviews, performance recordings, and documentary photography he will explore Smoak's musical beginnings in rural South Carolina including his contact with three-finger banjo innovator Snuffy Jenkins, his career as a professional musician playing with Bill Monroe and others, his musical repertoire and techniques (vocal "eefing," "knocking the banjo," and other styles that date to his upbringing).

Joe's research will result in a collection of documentary materials for future research use in the Berea College Archives, an online resource presenting excerpts from this collection, a public program at Berea, and concert in Smoak's home area, Washington County, Indiana.

Joe is a musician and public folklorist with a special interest in folk music and community identity. In collaboration with Indiana's state folklife agency, Traditional Arts Indiana, he has documented many bluegrass and old-time musicians. Final Fellowship Report

Kehren Barbour and Michael Luchtan  (Ashville, North Carolina)

Kehren and Michael combine their artistic and musical talents in research directed toward developing arrangements of Appalachian fiddle tunes for the Tango sextet tipico, the traditional Argentine Tango ensemble. The specific music form is called a Cortina, the transition piece between Tango dance sets.  

The goal of the project is dissemination of Appalachian music to the global community of tango musicians and dancers. In addition to being performed by the Asheville Tango Orchestra, the arrangements will be presented on a website with dramaturgical narrative essays for each song in both Spanish and English.

Performance and recording of the arrangements by other groups will be encouraged by making them freely available under a Creative Commons License. The completed Cortinas will be brought to Argentina in July 2014 for performance at the Tango para Musicos international symposium sponsored by the Argentinian government.  

Michael founded the Asheville Tango Orchestra in 2010 to foster cross-cultural communication. He has introduced thousands of Latinos to Appalachian rhythms  by performing the music of such musicians as singer-songwriter José Alfredo Jiménez in a traditional Appalachian style at music venues, libraries, and taquerias.

Susan Spalding (Lexington, Kentucky)Susan Spalding

Susan’s research is directed at identifying and documenting 1900s era dance traditions in the area surrounding Berea College. This interest developed out of the realization soon after becoming Director of Dance Programs at Berea in 1995 that no local community square dance or footwork dance traditions were in evidence, despite the fact that the college has included dance among the traditional art forms it supports for at least the past seventy-five years.

Among important informants are family members and associates of Mary Lee Jackson. As a young woman she danced in nearby Estill County and later in Berea, established young people’s clogging teams. Interviews will be directed at learning about the teams’ dancing, how they learned the dances, and the dance experience of the team members’ parents. Other interviews will explore dance traditions in Estill County and the links between Berea dancers and the Renfro Valley Barn Dance stage shows.

Susan will share her findings in an annotated online article and a presentation at the 2015 Appalachian Studies Conference. Her project is also a first step toward further exploration of Central Kentucky 1900s era dance traditions. Her resultant collection of audio-recordings and other documentary material will provide both new knowledge and connect it to existing dance related documentation in Hutchins Library’s Department of Special Collections and Archives. 

Photo courtesy of Sharon Ruble

Lauren Hayes (Tucson, Arizona)Lauren Hayes

Lauren’s research involves the documentation of personal work histories and spoken narratives of working life among women factory, manufacturing, and service workers in Appalachian Kentucky. These work histories and narratives will include reflections about current and past work opportunities for women in the region, descriptions of current circumstances among Appalachian women workers, and descriptions of daily work activities and responsibilities. The project is an important component of her dissertation research in Berea that explores how Appalachian working women negotiate the challenges of the modern workplace.

Lauren’s research will result in a collection of audio-recordings and documentary material including transcripts and a field log about Appalachian women in the modern workplace for future use in Hutchins Library’s Department of Special Collections and Archives. 

Lauren is a Ph.D. candidate in cultural and linguistic anthropology at the University of Arizona in Tucson and a visiting scholar of Berea College’s Women’s and Gender Studies program.

Page McClean (Hobe Sound, Florida)Page Mclean

Page’s video documentation work involves studying the role of kinship in the preservation and transmission of Appalachian folk musical traditions.  She will focus both on multigenerational families that have passed down their musical knowledge as well as situations in which a lost tradition was recovered through an alternative interpretation of kinship.  As an addendum to her fieldwork with families, she will attend the Hindman Settlement School’s Appalachian Family Folk Week to explore the role that an institution can serve in supporting families in the promotion and preservation of folk traditions.

Page’s research will result in a series of filmed interviews and performances that will be available for future research use in the Berea College Archives.  She will edit her research into a film that she will share with the participants of the project and will later submit to film festivals.

Page is a visual anthropologist who has engaged in ethnographic and visual research in Europe and the Americas.  In addition to her video work, she is a singer-songwriter and an acoustic guitarist.  She currently works as an educator and a writer in Colorado.