The Transylvania Times -

Library To Show Appalachian Music Film - Brevard, NC


September 7, 2017

Courtesy Photo

Manco Sneed

The Transylvania County Library will show David Weintraub's new film on the history of Appalachian music at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 14, in the Rogow Room. The documentary, "A Great American Tapestry: The Many Strands of Mountain Music," tells the story of the southern mountain's musical birth and evolution through the strands of the Scots-Irish legacy, the often overlooked African-American tradition and the longest lived music in the Americas, that of Native Americans.

According to director/producer Weintraub, "Mountain music is often discussed as a Scots-Irish tradition that came over here by the Ulster-Scots and that's true. It is a fascinating story.

"But what often gets overlooked is that the West African banjo was played in this country by blacks for nearly 100 years before it was ever picked up by white musicians. African-Americans also played a key role in developing the syncopated and rhythmic fiddle styles symbolic of old time and bluegrass music.

The blended cultural result is exactly what makes mountain music as beautiful and captivating as it is."

The film features the leading luminaries of the ballad tradition, including Sheila Kay Adams, Joe Penland and Bobby McMillon; Grammy Award winning founders of the world renowned black string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops with Rhiannon Giddens; members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee; David Holt; and musicologists and historians who tell the story of the great melting pot that became Appalachian music.

According to Phil Jamison, professor of Appalachian music at Warren Wilson College and a participant in the film, "The reality of the southern backcountry was a diverse mix of Europeans, African-American and indigenous native peoples. Not racially, culturally or economically homogeneous, it was home to wealthy landowners, poor tenant farmers, sharecroppers, merchants, subsistence farms and enslaved African-Americans."

All of them shaped the music and made it special.

Creekside Crawfish, a Junior Appalachian Musicians youth string band from Transylvania County, will perform as an opening act beginning at 6:30 p.m. The 70-minute film starts at 7 p.m. A brief discussion with the filmmaker will follow.

The program is sponsored by the Transylvania County Library Foundation. For additional information contact Marcy at (828) 884-1820 or


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