Hammer Dulcimers And Roadside Dinosaurs Inside Appalachia


On this week’s episode, we begin our journey through Appalachia by way of Lviv, Ukraine to learn about their version of an Appalachian dulcimer.

We’ll make a roadside stop to revisit the theme park throwback Dinosaur Kingdom II in Natural Bridge, Virginia. And, we’ll swing by Lexington, Kentucky to visit the newly appointed United States Poet Laureate, Ada Limón.

Finally, we’ll visit Floyd, Virginia where Roxy Todd reports about the struggle some artists are facing to make ends meet.

You can hear all these stories and more in our latest tour Inside Appalachia.

In This Episode:

The Sound Of Dulcimers Across The Globe

Popularized by folk musician Jean Ritchie in the 1950s, a lot of folks in the Appalachian region are already familiar with a traditional instrument called the mountain or lap dulcimer. But did you know there’s another, lesser-known dulcimer in Appalachia called the hammer dulcimer? It’s a bigger, stationary instrument that isn’t related to the lap dulcimer at all. In fact, it’s a relative of a Ukrainian instrument called the tsymbaly. When Folkways reporter Clara Haizlett learned about this unexpected relationship, she was intrigued. Clara brings us this story from Fairmont, West Virginia and Lviv, Ukraine.

Newly Appointed U.S. Poet Laureate From The Bluegrass State

Earlier this month, Kentucky writer Ada Limón was named U.S. Poet Laureate by the Librarian of Congress. Limón lives in Lexington, Kentucky, where she writes, teaches remotely, gives poetry readings and also hosts the poetry podcast, The Slowdown. Kentucky Public Radio’s Derek Operle spoke to Limón about poetry and her connection to the Bluegrass State.

Dinosaurs And Civil War Soldiers?


Pat Jarrett/Virginia Folklife Program
A dinosaur-solider creation from Mark Cline’s roadside attraction Dinosaur World in Natural Bridge, Virginia.

Artist Mark Cline has made an entire tourist destination that’s designed to make you scream with fear and laugh out loud. He has hand-crafted dinosaurs and Civil War soldiers interacting in southwest Virginia at his roadside attraction, Dinosaur Kingdom II. Mason Adams has the story.

“Eyes Glowing At The Edge Of The Woods”

Recently, NPR published a list of 50 books for 50 states. West Virginia’s was an anthology of stories called “Eyes Glowing At The Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry From West Virginia.” It brings together works about the unique sense of place 63 writers find in the Mountain State. West Virginia Public Broadcasting News Director Eric Douglas spoke with the book’s editors, Doug Van Gundy and Laura Long, about how they brought its stories together.


Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by Chris Knight, Hot Rize, Johnny Staats, The Freight Hoppers, Marteka and William and Hazel Dickens.

Bill Lynch is our producer. Alex Runyon is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode.

You can find us on Twitter @InAppalachia and on Instagram @inappalachia.

Where have you traveled this season? See anything especially remarkable? If there’s something you’d like to share, send us a postcard! We’re at 600 Capitol Street, Charleston, West Virginia, 25301. Our new producer, Bill Lynch, needs some to hang in his office. It still looks kind of empty in there.

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