A Class Project Discusses Being Inside Appalachia

This week, a southern Ohio college writing class recently learned about the idea of Appalachian identity and then told us what they thought. Kentucky has a new poet laureate so we listen back to a 2020 conversation with author Silas House, about growing up in the mountains. And in Harlan Kentucky, a mural sparked strong opinions over possums.

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How Black Musicians And Luthiers Are Reclaiming The Banjo

The banjo, an instrument closely associated with mountain music, originated in Africa and came to America with enslaved Africans. In the 1830s and 1840s, it was taken up by white musicians and became a staple of minstrelsy, a form of racist entertainment in which white performers—often in blackface—depicted stereotypes of Black Americans. Eventually the banjo crossed fully over into white public culture and was separated from its African roots and identity. Now, there’s an emerging movement of Black musicians who are reclaiming the banjo and taking the instrument—and its sound—in new directions.

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Recycling Never Sounded So Good: Appalachian Luthiers Turn Cardboard And Tin Cans Into Musical Instruments

As part of our Inside Appalachia Folkways series, reporter Rachel Moore spoke to two instrument makers in Western North Carolina who are carrying on the DIY instrument legacy.

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In Harlan County, Kentucky, A 20-Year-Old Punk Musician Searches For 97-Year-Old Banjo Maker

Lots of folks have picked up new hobbies and passions during the pandemic, like knitting or growing a garden. In Harlan County, Kentucky, a 20-year-old punk musician turned to the banjo. And that led to a search for a 97-year-old banjo maker.

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