Barbara R. Duncan: Folklorist, Festival Organizer, Writer, and Musician by Adrienne Hollifield Barbara Duncan’s interest in folklore stems from her own heritage in the Appalachian Mountain region of Pennsylvania. Duncan moved to North Carolina 26 years ago. Since that time, she has been researcher, director, consultant, and instructor for a variety of projects promoting both […]

Kirsten Mullen: Folklorist by Joy Salyers Kirsten Mullen has been an active force in North Carolina folklife since moving to Durham in 1983. In 1998, as a graduate student in the Curriculum in Folklore at UNC-Chapel Hill, she was awarded the North Carolina Arts Council Folklife Fellowship and the Ackland Art Museum Graduate Student Internship. […]

Jim Vipperman: Traditional Musician and Teacher by Tanya Jones Jim Vipperman was born June 12, 1958, in Surry County. He started playing the violin in 1966 with classical lessons from Dr. Ralph Gabriel and Lilly Graham. His father, Johnny Vipperman (whose musical career included a time playing with Bill Monroe’s band in 1951), and also […]

Ruben Olmos: Lowrider by Michael C. Taylor The term “lowrider” refers to elaborately customized cars lowered to almost ground-scraping levels, and to those who build and drive them. Although the tradition of lowriding grew out of West Coast and Southwestern Latino communities in the late 1930s, lowriding is now widely recognized as a vibrant international […]

Sidney G. Luck: Fifth Generation Potter by Charles G. Zug Even for a Seagrove potter, Sid Luck possesses unusually deep roots in the North Carolina clay. His ancestors were associated with two of the most prominent clay clans in the state, the Coles and the Cravens. Great-great-grandfather William Luck worked with his son-in-law Evan Cole, […]

Jerry Wolfe: Cherokee Elder by Roseanna S. Belt Jerry Wolfe is a respected elder of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. He is a storyteller who recounts traditional Cherokee legends and stories about his experiences growing up in Cherokee. He shares his experience of attending the Cherokee boarding school and his knowledge of Cherokee stickball. […]

Alice Gerrard: Traditional Musician and Music Scholar by Sara Jane Bell It’s not just a question of keeping the music alive, but of integrating it into our own lives, and of its having meaning alongside of the way we live now. — Alice Gerrard, in Homemade American Music Alice Gerrard has devoted a lifetime to […]

M. Anna Fariello: Folklife Researcher and Museum Curator by Marie T. Cochran Anna Fariello grew up in a small New Jersey town where her first encounter with folklife was as a participant in Italian-American traditions that were part of everyday life. “For the first decade and a half, my life revolved within a small circle […]

Eric Ellis: Wilkes County Banjo Player, Bearer of Bluegrass Traditions, and Teacher by Lisa Baldwin, Leila Weinstein, and Emily Schaad Eric Ellis was inducted into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame in 2009—the same year that saw the inductions of Ralph and Carter Stanley, Mike Seeger, and Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith—and today the North […]

Lonnie Ward: Traditional Musician by Trevor McKenzie Born in 1928, Lonnie Ward has been a part of the musical traditions of Watauga County, North Carolina, for nearly seven decades. At 83, Ward is accomplished on a variety of instruments including banjo, dulcimer, mandolin, and guitar. Recently, he took up the fiddle after being inspired by […]