Monday, October 29, 2012

Al Wall - a consumate musician

South Carolina musician Al Wall passed away this past August.  Wall began playing hillbilly and “old-time” music before it was dubbed bluegrass. He was one of eleven children in a family he described as not very musically oriented. As a teen, he cut his teeth during radio-sponsored music competitions. In 1941, he and his band won an amateur contest that launched his professional career. Wall served in the Navy during World War II, and entertained the troops while benefiting from exposure to other musicians. “I gained great inspiration from my father,” recalled Wall. “The initial learning process was provided by my neighborhood friends.”
Wall adopted bluegrass, a postwar hybrid of Appalachian vocal and instrumental traditional music, as his preferred genre before the term was coined. In 1996, Wall told a reporter from the Charleston Post and Courier, “in those days, there wasn’t bluegrass and there wasn’t country. It was hillbilly music.”  A retired dairy industry executive with accounting and economics degrees, Wall pursued his music in his off-hours. He  became a vocal and tireless supporter of traditional music in South Carolina, writing about bluegrass and western swing for magazines, and authored two unpublished manuscripts on bluegrass.   Bluegrass is as uniquely American as blues and jazz. Wall produced “a laudable celebration of American folk music… I respectfully call my craft ‘America’s blue collar soul music,’ a term which I believe more than adequately describes the assortment of old country sounds, blended into a single identity.”

Wall played with legends like Pappy Sherrill and Chet Atkins and was a member of the Rythym Aristocrats, a pioneering old-time country band headed by Fisher Hendley in the 1930s and 40s. Wall continued to produce western swing, country, bluegrass and gospel offerings at a variety of venues, including the annual “Breath of Spring Music Festival” at Cypress Gardens, South Carolina. Wall received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in 2001.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Finally back online.....

Greetings from the Folklife Resource Center (FRC) at McKissick Museum!  Finally worked some bugs out of the system and we are now back to the blogoshere.  So many projects to talk about, so little time!  Let's begin here:

The Folklife program partnered with the South Carolina Arts Commission in 2011 to continue the first county-wide traditional arts survey project conducted in SC.  While we have conducted focused fieldwork efforts in counties throughout the state in the past, we have never embarked on a comprehensive, 46 county survey.  Exciting!  We are meeting an amazing variety of traditions so far - a Burundi Gospel choir, a Cambodian roneat player, Burmese dance and song, white oak basketry - and we've only just begun!

Make sure you visit on a regular basis for periodic updates.

Kiln sale of SC potter Linda Green. 2011  Spartanburg, County.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Working on accessibility...

We have just about completed all of the transcriptions for the audio and video clips on the website. This has been a goal since day one. Including transcriptions of all media clips will allow hearing impaired visitors access to the material. We anticipate having all audio and video transcribed within the month! Check back soon!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Talking with the Turners....

After much too long a delay, we've been able to get some of the "Talking with the Turners" documentation up online. Over the next few weeks, we hope to post many of the audio interviews, but we have a substantial number of photographs and text up and ready. Thanks to Randy Mack for his thorough work back in 1981 - many of these potters have passed on and this material stands to offer a glimpse into their particular tradition. More to come!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Unfortunate news...

By Times & Democrat STAFF
Monday, March 26, 2007

Reginald Jarvis, the second of five brothers who blended their voices to form a renowned a capella quintet, died Sunday, Bythewood Funeral Home announced Monday.

Jarvis, 71, of Orangeburg, was joined by brothers Ulysses, Donald, Anthony and Rogers in performing as the Jarvis Brothers. They have been regulars at Orangeburg events for years, recently writing and performing a song in honor of The Times and Democrat's 125th anniversary.

But the group's fame extends far beyond Orangeburg. They have performed their spirituals in Washington at the Smithsonian and in New York at the Apollo Theater, also before Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. They represented the state of South Carolina in the Millennium Stage series at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. And they have received South Carolina's highest honor for the arts, the Verner Award.

For most of his career as an English and/or choral music teacher, Reginald Jarvis also performed with his siblings. The baritone performed for one year with the Emmanuel Middleton Chorus in Manhattan, N.Y., and for three years with the Hall Johnson Choir, which provided music for the motion picture "Green Pastures." He lent his talents to the Savannah (Ga.) Symphonic Chorale for several years when he resided there. In his last performance with the group, he played the role of the Page, in "Amahl and the Night Visitors."

After Claflin University, Jarvis did studies in vocal music at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass.; Savannah State College and Armstrong State College in Savannah, Ga., and Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga.

The Jarvis Brothers received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in 1989.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

2007 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards

Congratulations to Alda Smith and Louise Miller Cohen, South Carolina's 2007 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award recipients! Find all sorts of info of them under the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award Program link on the Digital Traditions website.

More to come!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Website visits increase...

Since launching in mid-September, the Digital Traditions website has seen well over 20,000 site visits! We are very encouraged by the positive reaction for folks throughout the region. We continue to work on website improvements and have most recently added a new resource entitled the "Folklife Writer's Forum." The project allows folks to have their writing and other relevant research published electronically on Digital Traditions. We want to especially encourage students to utilize this resource. More to come!