Appalachia

Hindugrass
Will Michaels / WUNC

Hindugrass is a collective music project that has been around for 17 years. 

The Durham-based band can be anything from a quartet to an octet in live performances and the band describes its sound as "Indo-Appalachian fusion." It's a mixture of classical Indian sounds and Appalachian folk.

Host Frank Stasio discusses what that means with five members of Hindugrass: John Heitzenrater on the sarod, Laura Thomas on the violin,  Katie Wyatt on the viola, Chris Johnson on the tabla, and Ed Butler on percussion.

In addition to taking on education initiatives, PAGE encourages girls to produce photography and digital stories.
Madison County Photo Exhibition / carolinapage.org

Rural communities in western North Carolina are in the midst of an economic shift.

The rise and fall of the family farm means places like Madison County are looking for new ways to support themselves. The answer could be in the tech industry. But technology businesses rely on a steady stream of well-educated workers. 

A panel discussion tonight at Duke University, "Rethinking Appalachia," examines ways to develop a high-tech workforce in rural Appalachia.

David Joy's new book tells the story of a young man working for his father's meth ring in rural North Carolina.
David-Joy.com

Jacob McNeely grew up in the mountains of North Carolina.

A life of crime as an employee of his father's meth ring is the only one he has ever known. But a violent event and a reunion with his first love offer McNeely the possibility of escape. 

Looking At Appalachia

Jan 22, 2015
Ronald Sowder cuts Tom Fitzsimmons hair in Hinton, Summers County, West Virginia .
Ryan Stone / Looking at Appalachia

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared war on poverty. The images of the Appalachia region from that period created stereotypes of its people and land for the rest of the country.

Image of banjo hero Carroll Best.
Courtesy of Louise Best

In the 1930s, the National Park Service sent a man named Joseph Hall to the Great Smoky Mountains to document the life and stories of people who were about to be relocated so that it could become a national park

Gerry Dincher / Flickr/Creative Commons

"Hain't dat white rice over yonder a-sittin' sigogglin'?"

That sentence is mostly non-sense, but it's also tells a quick and fascinating history of the Appalachian dialect.

Listen to our Eric Mennel take a lesson in Appalachian-speak from NC State linguist Walt Wolfram. (The lesson takes under two minutes.)

VanderVeen Photographers

Beowulf is a classic tale that has been told and retold in many ways. But in 2006, a team in Greensboro designed a surprising twist on the age-old tale: a music-filled play set in Appalachia.
Jacie Buckner (foreground) and Alexis Wills
PAGE

Jacie Buckner and Alexis Wills are teenagers. Both grew up in the same Appalachian region of North Carolina. Jacie describes herself as quiet. Alexis says she is a rebel.  They met in middle school, when they ran into each other in the lunchroom. " I looked at Jacie and thought 'oh my goodness, she’s going to hate me!'"Alexis says.

Ballad singer and banj player Sheila Kay Adams.
Kim Dryden, courtesty of Sheila Kay Adams

Mention the name Sheila Kay Adams to any traditional old time musician and you’re likely to elicit a reverent response.  In the world of American ballad singers, Adams remains one of the pillars of tradition, drawing on her Madison County roots to perform and teach the old style of singing and banjo playing passed down in her family for generations.  This week, her lifetime of nurturing and sharing traditional music earned her a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle singing the ballad 'Lord Bateman' with a 'crankie.'
Laura Candler

When traditional Appalachian musician Anna Roberts-Gevalt first showed ballad singer Elizabeth LaPrelle a crankie, Elizabeth was speechless.

“I really freaked out,” LaPrelle said. She was astounded not only because she had never seen one before, but also because it was such a powerful tool for storytelling.

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