Much of American music today, including folk, country, bluegrass and rock n’ roll, have at least some of its roots in the music first produced in the Scottish Highlands and in Ulster, according to musicologist Doug Orr and co-author of the Thomas Wolfe Literary Award-winning book, Wayfaring Strangers. Doug and his wife Darcy will be telling stories and performing the songs that came across the “carrying stream” in a special presentation held by the Center for Cultural Preservation and Blue Ridge Community College as part of their Keeping the Fires Burning Series on Thursday, March 30th at 7PM at Blue Ridge Community College.
According to Orr, “Appalachian music is the music that Americans come home to. After a day working in the fields, they’d gather on the front porches and pick up a banjo, a fiddle and sing the old songs.” Music was more than a form of entertainment; it was a communal celebration of the culture. The musical “carrying stream” goes back to the wandering minstrels in Europe, the ballad singers in the Scottish Highlands, crossing over to Ulster with the migrations and back across the “sea of green menace” to America. There it mixed with the music of native peoples and that of African-Americans and many other cultures.
Wayfaring Strangers is more than a history lesson, according to David Weintraub, Executive Director of the Center for Cultural Preservation. It’s the living, breathing soul of humanity, a tapestry of song that still touches the hearts of millions everyday. Keeping these traditions alive, says Weintraub, is “more than attending a concert or picking up a banjo, but understanding that music is part of a community of people who live together, grow together and celebrate together.”
Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland/Ulster to Appalachia will be held at 7:00 PM on Thursday, March 30th at Blue Ridge Community College’s Thomas Auditorium. There is a $10 registration fee and advanced registration is strongly recommended by registering online at www.saveculture.org or calling the Center at (828) 692-8062.