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Folklife Flashes
May 2016

Celebrate our state's folklife and traditions!

Message from the Director

Spring is growing all around us. It is one of our favorite seasons - bees, honeysuckle vines, warm evenings in the garden - growth evident everywhere.  Spring is a time of growth at NC Folk too. We say goodbye and thanks to our interns, work to roll out our new website, and plan for the National Folk Festival in Greensboro. And before long, it will be tomato weather.

John Earl Alston 


Get your hands sticky this summer and try out the art of backyard beekeeping, like NC Native John Earl Alston! A resident of Norlina and Warren County, Alston has been interested in insects since a young age. Just a few years ago, he was inspired by his neighbor, a long time beekeeper, to revive the local tradition of keeping hives in the backyard. In just his second year tending to the bees, Alston was collecting honey. Read more here...

From Heritage Arts Initiative Artist's Directory-- Halifax, Vance, and Warren Counties.


  • Donald Hughes of the Country Dance and Song Society is working on a project with a committee across NC and the Atlantic to map the travels of Cecil Sharp in Appalachia 1916 to 1918. 
  • If you need help visualizing a native landscape for your summer garden, visit the NC Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill to walk through a microcosm of NC's landscape, with gardens representing the piedmont, the mountains, and costal plain regions. Purchase recommended native plants for your garden in the plant sale!
  • It's not too late to receive a free seed packet of the NC Wildflower of the Year: The Northern Rattlesnake-Master! Just send a self addressed, stamped business-letter envelope to: 2016 NCWFOY, North Carolina Botanical Garden, Campus Box 3375, UNC-CH, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3375. Before requesting seeds, read NC Botanical Garden's seed distribution policy.

BBC Folk Connections: Cecil Sharp's Appalachian Trail


Listen as British Andy Kershaw follows Cecil Sharp's travels through Appalachia over 100 years later, interviewing singers and family members of the original folk Cecil Sharp interviewed in the early 1900's in his effort to record and preserve traditional English folk ballads. 

This recording is part of Radio 3's Folk Connections Weekend, and was produced by Roger Short and Maya Amin-Smith.

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by Ray Linville

Do you wish that you could grow the same vegetables that Grandma grew? The flavors that she tasted and the nutrients that she enjoyed are legendary, and many of us reminisce about how we miss the flavors of yesteryear. Because this desire to appreciate traditional foods is growing, a cultural movement to preserve heirloom seeds and plants has slowly but increasingly developed in our state. Efforts in the western counties, in particular, are significant. Click here to read more...

Ray Linville NC Food post "Heirloom Seeds and Plants" from July 16, 2013.
Carol Jones Shields of Roanoke 
River Partners shows NC Folk 
field producer Joseph O’Connell 
how to make rockfish stew as part 
of a great new NC Folk podcast series.

The nineteen recordings on this album are drawn mostly from his “memory collection,” a 1949 recording session at the Library of Congress during which he preserved for posterity hundreds of the songs – ballads, blues, hymns, heart songs – that he had learned growing up in Madison and Buncombe Counties, and during his years of travels around the western part of the state. Purchase your copy here from NC Folk...

30% off the CD, only in May!
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Our mailing address is:
PO Box 61222/Durham, NC 27715

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North Carolina Folklife Institute · P O Box 61222 · Durham, NC 27715 · USA

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