Sunday, October 09, 2005

Jean Ritchie

Jean Ritchie and her husband George Pickow were here in town this week, for a series of elementary educators' workshops and a gala concert. At 83, born in Viper, KY, Miss Ritchie brings a Cumberland Mountains/coal-mining experience and music from a place that is now gone. She's the mother of Appalachian dulcimer players everywhere, and is the single person most responsible for bringing the dulcimer to the folk world. She also made the first field recordings of many Anglo-Irish source musicians (including Bess Cronin, Seamus Ennis, and Sarah Makem) during a 1950 Fulbright. She's a splendid person and a wonderful musician, and it was a helluva learning experience for all of us. Banjo-player Mason Brown came down from the hills above Taos, Susan Brumfield brought her SweetPeas women's chorus, LNF was the backup band, and a good time was had by all. Not too many opportunities available like that for us anymore. We're very grateful.

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