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Folklife Flashes
July 2016

Celebrate our state's folklife and traditions!

Message from the Director

Each day we are more excited for September's National Folk Festival in Greensboro! This month, NC Folk is highlighting some of the artists and traditions that will be on display in One State, Many Worlds, the North Carolina folklife area whose theme honors the cultural traditions that NC newcomers bring with them, adapt, and maintain. This is just a small taste; make sure you come to the Festival in September to see all the exciting ways newcomers have explored their cultures in a new place: The Old North State. 

International Community Mass Choir


Voices from across Central and West Africa blend and soar when the International Community Mass Choir of Charlotte takes the stage. Their joyous Christian music, performed in a half-dozen languages, speaks to the many traditions arriving from “mother Africa”—birthplace of six percent of recent immigrants to North Carolina.

Rev. Alton Lee and wife Mercy, both from Liberia, formed the choir for a 2007 Charlotte meeting of Liberian pastors. “We found there were others who wanted to be a part,” Rev. Lee recalls, “from Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Congo. To welcome everyone, we took the name International Community Mass Choir.” Read more...

To learn more about the International Community Mass Choir, check out their website:


  • Visit NC is a great resource when you're planning a trip in NC, from the mountains to the coast. Find upcoming events on their Events Page.
  • Learn about the new children's book Transplanting Traditions: The Story of a Community Farm, featuring stories from the Chapel Hill area Karen community.
  • Find about the ethnic groups in North Carolina, statistics on newcomer communities, and other research and resources from UNC Greensboro's Center for New North Carolinians.

Passing Flamenco on through Project Olé


Through Flamenco Vivo's educational outreach programs, collectively titled Project Olé, elementary, middle school, and adult students of all ages are learning the art of Flamenco in NC and NY. Forest Hills Elementary, Avery Middle School, Eastern Elementary, and the Clarkton School of Discovery have brought Flamenco lessons to their students through Project Olé. Click the image above to watch an example lecture demonstration. 

Connect With Us


New Farmers in North Carolina: Karen Refugees

by Ray Linville

More than 14,000 refugees have been resettled in North Carolina in the past decade, according to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement. As these refugee communities grow, they are beginning to transform food traditions of our state and expand the agricultural offerings at farmers’ markets and farm-to-home deliveries provided through community-supported agriculture. Read more...

Ray Linville, NC Food post "New Farmers in North Carolina: Karen Refugees," from August 30, 2013.


by Evan Hatch

Great lowrider vehicles draw attention. They capture the spectator’s eye with chromed detailing, art work, super-active hydraulics, audio systems, and tricked-out interiors. The Lowyalty Car Club, based out of Burlington, North Carolina, is home to some of the most creative and driven lowrider artists working in the field today. Ruben Olmos and Corona are two of Lowyalty’s artists. Read more...

Evan Hatch, NC Field post "Art of the Lowrider," from June 5, 2016.

There is always more to learn about the communities and traditions of North Carolina, whether they are recently arrived or helped shape the original fabric of our state.  Thelonius Monk, Billy Taylor, and Maceo Parker—famous jazz artists who have shared the unique sounds of North Carolina with the world—are but a few of the dynamic African American artists from eastern North Carolina featured in The African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina. This first-of-its-kind travel guide will take you on a fascinating journey to music venues, events, and museums that illuminate the lives of the musicians and reveal the deep ties between music and community. Find it and much more in our online shop!
Copyright © 2016 North Carolina Folklife Institute, All rights reserved.

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