‘Peace Behind the Bridge’

Story Submitted (mtfrontdesk@mountaintimes.com)

Article Published: Aug. 22, 2013 | Modified: Aug. 30, 2013
‘Peace Behind the Bridge’

Wayne and Margaret Martin

From the lonesome strains of an old-time ballad to fiddle dance tunes to the clawhammer banjo and the fingerpicked blues guitar, North Carolina has a rich and varied history of traditional music.

Much of it has been recorded, but who is responsible for doing so? Are there still traditional artists in the state who have not yet been documented? Is North Carolina’s traditional music alive and well, or does more need to be done to sustain our rich musical traditions?

For a discussion of these topics, visit the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum on Thursday, Aug. 29, to hear “Peace Behind the Bridge,” a talk by Wayne Martin, executive director of the N.C. Arts Council.

Originally drawn to traditional musicians in order to learn from them (he is an accomplished musician, himself), Martin came to believe during a folklore class at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that documenting the music he loved was important in and of itself. His professor encouraged him to travel into communities and to record Southern traditional music.

Since the late 1970s, Martin has documented many important North Carolina artists, including Doug Wallin, Joe and Odell Thompson and Etta Baker. In fact, the title of Martin’s talk, “Peace Behind the Bridge,” comes from a fiddle tune taught to him by Baker.

In addition to recording folk artists, Martin has also been extremely active in helping to sustain the traditional arts in the state. Among other things, he was an original member of the Office of Folklife Programs, where he worked to bring traditional musicians into the North Carolina public schools; he helped to plan and implement the African American Music Trails in Eastern North Carolina; and he established the North Carolina Heritage Award Program, which has honored more than 100 traditional artists from all regions of the state.

Martin was named executive director of the North Carolina Arts Council in 2012. For more information about Martin’s fieldwork, visit http://www.jardownmusic.com.

“Peace Behind the Bridge,” a talk by Wayne Martin, is part of BRAHM’s Third Thursday speaker series. It also highlights the museum’s exhibit, “Strings N’ Things: Old Time Mountain Music,” which will be up until Sept. 8. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 29 and includes complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres. The cost of the talk is $5 and free for BRAHM members.

For more information, call (828) 295-9099, email (leila@blowingrockmuseum.org) or visit http://www.blowingrockmuseum.org.

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