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Saturday, August 04, 2018

Appalachian Music Celebrates Modern Culture, Immigrant Past | Arts & Culture - Voice of America

“To me the difference between a violin, and a fiddle, is that a violin never had a beer spilled on it... That is the difference.”, as Voice of America reports

A stand in Elkins, West Virginia, selling guitars
and mandolins, two common instruments
in old-time music.
Will Fanning laughs at his joke as he rocks on his chair outside his home in Mingo, West Virginia. Fanning is a musician and hotel owner born in Ireland. But now he lives deep in the Appalachian Mountains of the United States.

“The Irish nearly every day have a song and play music,” said Fanning. “So that tradition is kind of bred into me. My family, every weekend we’d play music at the house.”

Like Fanning, many in the area continue the traditions from their families’ immigrant history including a kind of music called old-time.

The oldest music from the oldest mountains
Old-time music comes from the Appalachian Mountains, a 2,400-kilometer-long system of mountains along the eastern part of the United States.

In the 18th century, many Europeans from Ireland, Scotland, and Germany arrived in the area to begin new lives...

Learning by listening
High school student Silas Riley and his sister Hazel are learning to banjo. Old-time music is learned by ear, Silas said.

“It’s a lot harder than other music. There’s no written stuff, no written notes, so you have to learn it all by listening to it and trying to reproduce the sound,” Silas said

Source: Voice of America