Joyce Cauthen, a member of the Alabama Humanities Foundation’s Road Scholars Speakers Bureau, will present “Fiddlers, Banjo Players and Strawbeaters – Alabama’s First Pop Musicians” on Wednesday, February 8, at 10 a.m. at Northeast Alabama Community College during Black History Month.
About the presentation
In her presentation, Cauthen will discuss the early fiddles of Alabama, the musicians who played them and the popularity of this music in their communities. Discussions will also surround the pivotal role played by African Americans in developing the music at the roots of today’s bluegrass and country music. Cauthen will demonstrate use of the banjo, “straws” (a technique in which broom straws or knitting needles were beat on the strings as the fiddler played) and guitar in backing up the fiddle. Her talk will be made especially interesting by the presence of fiddler Jim Cauthen, who will demonstrate fiddle tunes that have been specifically mentioned in historical writings, slave narratives and early newspapers of Alabama. The audience will hear musical styles and tunes that are seldom heard today—and will have the opportunity to ask questions and share their perceptions of the differences in this music and the modern country music that are based upon it.
To read about more Road Scholar Speakers Bureau presentations, visit http://www.alabamahumanities.org/programs/road/.
About the scholar
Joyce Cauthen is the author of With Fiddle and Well-Rosined Bow: Old-Time Fiddling in Alabama, published in 1989 by the University of Alabama Press, and has served as the producer of numerous recordings of traditional music of Alabama, including Possum Up a Gum Stump: Home, Commercial, and Field Recordings of Alabama Fiddlers. She also produced a CD and booklet entitled Bullfrog Jumped which features recordings made across Alabama of children’s folksongs and games in 1947. From 2000 to 2010, she served as executive director of the Alabama Folklife Association, a statewide organization that sponsors research, promotion and preservation of Alabama’s folk culture. She has long been a speaker in the Road Scholars program of the Alabama Humanities Foundation and is on the Board of Directors of the Alabama Folk School at Camp McDowell. Mrs. Cauthen is a graduate of Texas Christian University and has a Master’s degree in English from Purdue University.
About the Alabama Humanities Foundation
The Alabama Humanities Foundation fosters learning, understanding and appreciation of our people, communities and cultures. As the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, AHF supports humanities projects through grantmaking and conducts statewide programs including Road Scholars Speakers Bureau, SUPER Teacher Institutes and PRIME TIME Family Reading Time. For more information on AHF and its programs, please visit alabamahumanities.org or call (205) 558-3980.
This event is open and free to the public. For more information about NACC Black History Month activities, contact Sherie Grace, Dean of Student Services at NACC, at 256-638-4418 or 256-228-6001, ext. 2325, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.For additional college information, go to www.nacc.edu or download our free App.