Ballad Keepers of Appalachia’s Musical Crossroads

Fellowships  •  Folklife

Cece Conway
Cece Conway

Virginia Humanities

145 Ednam Drive, Charlottesville, VA

The author of African Banjo Echoes in Appalachia, a cultural history of the gourd “banjar” and later American five-string banjo in the South, Virginia Humanities Fellow Cece Conway will discuss her current book project and how she traces the earlier musical history of the ballad singing genre, the arrival of the fiddle and its influence upon the unaccompanied ballad tradition.

She’ll be joined by James Leva, a fiddler who sings stark ballads. Cece applies scholarly analysis to the singing families and their songs chronologically from the UK to Virginia. The carefully remembered oral stories of the singing families give voice to their actual experiences and the songs give hints about known events of history, like the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, but they especially reveal insider cultural history—illuminating the changing values and fears of the little documented settlers and their descendants.

This talk is free and open to the public. A casual lunch will be served.

Additional Performances

James Leva

Two additional performances will bookend this Fellows talk.

Old Time & Irish Music in 2 generations

Monday April 2, 6:00 pm: Potluck/House Concert
RSVP for directions

Evening Concert James Leva & Friends

Featuring James Leva, Danny Knicely, BobVasile, Al & Will McCanless

Tuesday April 3, 5:30-6:30: Virginia Humanities – 145 Ednam Drive, Charlottesville, VA