Tag Archives: Bascom Lamar Lunsford

An interview with the authors of ‘Wayfaring Strangers’

We reached back to explore medieval troubadours in the south of France, wandering minstrels who fanned out across Europe, and Scottish ballad collectors, composers, singers, and fiddlers. Above all, though, our book is primarily about the nameless families—across many generations—who held onto the one thing that cost nothing, took up no space in their travel trunks, and was perhaps their most valuable symbol of identity: the songs and tunes they carried over centuries and the miles. In particular, we spent years researching these intrepid wayfarers: Scottish emigrants to Ulster in the north of Ireland, who blended their musical traditions with the Irish in their new home and transported these on their Atlantic crossing to America. They often seemed drawn to the distant horizon and their journeys have been a carrying stream of music, fed by so many sources and in turn feeding out along countless tributaries. As Scots-Irish, many found Appalachian homes and new ways of sharing their long-held musical traditions. To tell the truth, at times it felt as if we were traveling along with them, and we developed a real affinity for their unshakeable spirit and their incredible persistence in keeping their music and traditions alive.

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Rhododendrons?…no, no. Folk music!

The 80th annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival got underway last night in Asheville, NC. It’s the oldest continuously running folk festival in the United States. “Even the moon came out over Beaucatcher Mountain and laughed in the spirit of the occasion,” said one of the local newspapers at the inaguaral festival in 1928. What […]

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