The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #139773 Message #3268873
Posted By: Desert Dancer
05-Dec-11 - 02:35 PM
Thread Name: NPR: current Appalachian ballad singers
Subject: RE: NPR: current Appalachian ballad singers
It may be a valid point in general, Dave, but in this particular case the article was written by Laurin Penland, a member of the Madison County family that she describes, and it arose from a project she did as an NPR intern (as linked at the start of this thread).
Whether it's really particularly valid to complain about NPR, as opposed to the world's perspective in general about traditional music in the USA, I'm not sure. If I do a search on links to NPR items shared on Mudcat (click), I see a pretty diverse assortment of stuff.
I think that the problem you describe has more to do with the history of folk music scholarship (especially folk song scholarship), the recording industry, and other mysterious cultural factors that have led to southern Appalachian traditional music being the best-documented of any genre in the U.S..
As a person with northern (northeastern, in particular) roots and musical inclinations, I've bemoaned this myself, but not just for what's available in public media, but also for what's pursued in the average "folk" gathering. From my experience, except for the truly eclectic gatherings, if you don't play old-time or Irish (or sing either), you're an outlier.
Old-time (that is, southern Appalachian) music is experiencing yet another resurgence, as far as I can see, and those of use who are fans of stuff from elsewhere in the U.S. will have to keep up the good fight to make it known.
~ Becky in Long Beach