W.I. “Bill” Hairston, 71, is a storyteller, old-time musician, and pastor living in Charleston, West Virginia. He was born in Phenix City, Alabama, and his family moved to Saint Albans, West Virginia, in 1960.
The West Virginia Folklife Program is now accepting applications for its 2020-2021 statewide Folklife Apprenticeship Program. The West Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program offers up to a $3,000 award to West Virginia master traditional artists or tradition bearers working with qualified apprentices on a year-long in-depth apprenticeship in their cultural expression or traditional art form. These…
A tribute to Gilmer County ballad singer Phyllis Marks, who passed away June 22, 2019, at the age of 92.
What has the West Virginia Folklife Program done lately? Learn about our 2017 media, activities, and programs.
The State Folklorist’s Notebook is a regular column written by state folklorist Emily Hilliard for Goldenseal Magazine. This article appears in the Winter 2017 issue. Charles Steven (“Steve”) Adams spent almost 40 years as a social worker dealing, as he says, “with people and their problems.” When he was in his mid-50s and nearing retirement, Steve started carving…
We are thrilled to announce that we have been awarded a $35,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Arts to support the new West Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program. This Art Works grant is among the $82 million that NEA Chairman Jane Chu has approved to fund local arts projects across the country in the…
Doris A. Fields, aka Lady D, known as “West Virginia’s First Lady of Soul” is an R&B, soul, and blues musician and songwriter living in Beckley. She is the founder and organizer of West Virginia’s Simply Jazz and Blues Festival and previously hosted the weekly Simply Jazz and Blues radio show on Groovy94 in Beckley. In 2008, Fields’ original song “Go Higher” won an online contest sponsored by the Obama Music Arts and Entertainment Group. She performed the song as a headliner at the Obama for Change Inauguration Ball with President Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama in attendance.
On January 25, we hosted our second West Virginia Folklife Program concert at the West Virginia Humanities Council, with a performance by old-time musician and collector Jim Costa, and a presentation by folklorist Zoe van Buren, who worked with Costa to document his collection.
State folklorist Emily Hilliard visits turkey call maker Aaron Parsons of Jackson County in her regular column for Goldenseal Magazine.
At 87, James Shaffer of Charleston Broom & Mop Co. in Loudendale is the last handmade commercial broom maker in West Virginia. We worked with West Virginia Public Broadcasting to produce a radio & video mini-documentary about Shaffer and the changes he’s seen in his 70 years in the broom industry.
Sam Rizzetta is a dulcimer designer, builder, and musician who moved to West Virginia in the early 1970s. He was a member of the string band Trapezoid and founded the hammer dulcimer playing classes at the Augusta Heritage Center at Davis & Elkins College. He has built dulcimers for musicians including John McCutcheon, Guy Carawan, and Sam Herrmann (read our Field Notes with her). Rizzetta now collaborates with the Dusty Strings Company who build hammer dulcimers based on his designs. He lives with his wife Carrie Rizzetta in Berkeley County, WV.
Summary of programs, fieldwork, and other activities of the West Virginia Folklife Program in fiscal year 2016