Photo by Letisha Banks
Raleigh, N.C. (May 15, 2012) — Community members who have spent the last nine months exploring eight eastern North Carolina counties tracking the region’s rich African American musical heritage will present a multi-media program on Saturday,
June 2 in Kinston.
The free program is scheduled from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Community Council for the Arts in Kinston and is free and open to the public.
The presentation, Music Stories in Sound and Light, is part of the Community Folklife Documentation Institute (CFDI), a joint project of the North Carolina Folklife Institute, North Carolina Arts Council, North Carolina African American Heritage Commission and North Carolina Folklore Society. The institute teaches community members about documenting local culture and community folklife — the traditions of artistic expressions in home, church, community and work that make life meaningful.
In its fourth year, the project provides training in documentary methods for 12 citizens who were interested in telling the stories of their community and their heritage. The theme for this year’s project was the African American Music Trail, providing participants in Edgecombe, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt, Wayne or Wilson counties, the opportunity to learn more about the regions musical heritage by interviewing musicians, artists and long-time community residents, for example.
The N.C. Arts Council is currently producing a guidebook to African American Music, which will be accompanied by a CD, and will be available next spring. Additionally, the project includes several public art pieces and visitor kiosks.
“One of the hallmarks of the workshops is self-discovery. Instructors work with the Community Specialists (participants) to enhance their ability to create a story with a narrative arc and capture a compelling aspect of the working life and experience of a musician in the region,” said CFDI faculty member Kirsten Mullen. “The Community Specialists learn to conduct historical research, search for cultural significance, and hone their powers of observation—training their gaze on themselves as well as the artists whose lives they seek to document.”
Participants learn to use a variety of digital equipment from video cameras and recorders, as well as how to edit the materials created during the institute.
Six videos were produced this year and will be presented during the program, as well as sound and slide profiles of musicians. There will also be a panel discussion, “Of the Community, By the Community, For the Community” with participants and instructors.
The presentation is scheduled Saturday, June 2 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Community Council for the Arts in Kinston located at 400 North Queen Street, Kinston, N.C. 28501. The event is open to the public.
This project was supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, and from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information contact (919) 807-6507.