The North Carolina Folklife Area at the National Folk Festival in September will celebrate North Carolina traditions that are flourishing in the hands of millennial artists, officials announced today.
“North Carolina has always recognized and celebrated its cultural heritage and our traditional artists,” Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susi H. Hamilton said. “Generation Now! is a wonderful opportunity for visitors and residents to experience our state’s rich traditions as interpreted by talented young artists.”
Generation Now! the North Carolina stage and exhibition area at the National Folk Festival will feature two stages, workshops and an avenue of craft artistry. The N.C. Folklife Area is a project of the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
“Generation Now! sets the bar for the next fifty years of excellence in North Carolina’s traditional arts,” Wayne Martin, Executive Director said. “A keen desire to honor the traditions that came before them, an intrepid use of technology and wild creativity distinguishes these resourceful artists of the ‘millennial’ generation.”
The stage and exhibition area are part of the three-day National Folk Festival, a free event in downtown Greensboro Friday, Sept. 8 to Sunday, Sept. 10. North Carolina enjoys an international reputation as a cradle of traditional arts, and more young people are practicing traditional arts than ever before.
The North Carolina Traditions Stage presents a dynamic line-up of young musicians who like to play at the boundaries of tradition, at times holding to the classic styles of their communities and mentors, at other times breaking out with riffs and rhythms all their own.
Curated by the N.C. Arts Council, the North Carolina Folklife Area will be divided into three distinct visitor experiences:
• Hear My Words Stage presents millennial storytellers representing oral traditions from the timeless qualities of Cherokee legend to the immediacy of contemporary spoken word. Some of the stories were first heard centuries ago; others may be having their first hearing today.
• North Carolina Traditions Stage will feature millennial artists performing a wide range of traditional music and dance. These young performers have learned to take full advantage of modern technology that may help to preserve and continue their art.
• The Craft Gallery will combine innovation and tradition in ways that may surprise you. Sometimes the artists make “old wine in new jugs,” and sometimes they make “new wine in old jugs.” See if you can tell the difference.
Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins, a puppeteer from Chapel Hill, was on hand with his hand-built puppets to demonstrate how “puppetry is high art—like composing an orchestra in 3D.” Inspired by a conversation with Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Pipkins chose the stage name “Jeghetto” to reflect his youth growing up in the projects of Pittsburgh, and their influence on his art and vision. Martha Spencer and Kelley Breidlow of Spencer Branch, an old-time stringband from Ashe County, also performed.
Although they usually collaborate with Martha’s brother Kilby Spencer, an award-winning fiddler, Spencer and Breidlow entertained the group with a few songs that celebrated their shared mountain roots.
Festival goers will experience these young artists and many more during the festival!
For a complete list of artists participating in the North Carolina Folklife Area visit:
The National Folk Festival will feature more than 300 of the nation’s finest musicians, dancers, and craftspeople. It will feature more than 40 performing groups on seven stages including a dance pavilion dedicated to non-stop participatory dancing, a Family Stage with performances appealing to both the young and the young-at-heart, and the North Carolina Traditions Stage. In addition to the performance stages, there are several themed Festival areas in addition to the North Carolina Folklife Area, including the Family Activities Area, the North Carolina Arts Marketplace, and the Festival Food Courts. The three-day Festival is FREE to the public.
For more information on the North Carolina Folklife Area and for complete description of the artists visit: www.NCArts.org.
For more information on the National Folk Festival visit NationalFolkFestival.com.
About the N.C. Arts Council: The North Carolina Arts Council launched its work in 1967 as part of a national movement inspired by the concept of “arts for all citizens.” In its first 50 years as a state agency, the Arts Council has supported the arts as a catalyst for job creation, downtown revitalization, arts-based tourism and student success both within and outside of the classroom. With 2,500 nonprofit arts organizations, including a network of local arts councils that reaches into all 100 counties of our state, the nonprofit arts industry generates $2.12 billion in direct economic activity for North Carolina. www.NCArts.org.
About the 2015 National Folk Festival: Co-produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) and ArtsGreensboro, the National Folk Festival began its three-year residency in downtown Greensboro last year. The event is America’s longest-running festival of traditional arts; it will highlight both long-standing traditions and the heritage and culture of North Carolina’s newest immigrant groups. nationalfolkfestival.com
About the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA): The National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) is one of the nation’s premier non-profit cultural organizations dedicated to the presentation and documentation of folk, tribal and ethnic arts in the United States. Founded in 1933, it is the nation’s oldest producing and presenting organization with such a focus. Its programs celebrate and honor deeply rooted cultural expressions—music, crafts, stories and dance passed on through time by families and communities as well as by tribal, ethnic and occupation groups. The NCTA stresses excellence and authenticity in presenting artists to the public in festivals, tours, concerts, media programs, exhibitions, recordings and other activities, and works in partnership with communities across American to establish new, sustainable traditional arts events that bring lasting social, cultural and economic benefits. www.ncta-usa.org
About ArtsGreensboro: With an annual budget of approximately $4 million, ArtsGreensboro is a catalyst for innovation that builds recognition and support for the arts. Through its ArtsFund-supported grant programs, the 17DAYS Arts & Culture Festival, I HEART ARTS Month, and other opportunities including the National Folk Festival, ArtsGreensboro is driving the health and vitality of the community by supporting arts education, celebrating the diversity of Greensboro and driving economic impact through excellence in arts programming. www.artsgreensboro.org