We had a wonderful time with our friends Cari Norris and Chris Bischoff during their nine-day visit in April. They are excellent examples of the next generation, carrying on the traditions of American folk music, dance, and storytelling.

Both are in their twenties, come from singing families, and currently live in Taylorsville, Kentucky. During the time they were here, we put on a "Day of Mountain Music and Dance Workshops" in Providence, toured schools with our songs, stories, and dances, performed in coffeehouses and at an outdoor fair. Chris called dances in Connecticut and Massachusetts, bringing a refreshing and different style to New England dancers. We even had time to bring Cari to the recording studio to sing and play on two songs for our new recording.

During their visit, I kept thinking about how lucky we are to be friends and about American folk music. This music, dance and storytelling is our heritage: a delightful blend of African, Celtic, European, and Native American beat, melody, and theme. You can see this fusion in Chris' clogging and buck dancing. You can hear it in the banjo with the African "bumdiddy, bumdiddy" rhythm and in the Celtic melodies. You can feel the haunting voices of the past through the centuries-old ballads that have taken on new shape and melody as they have evolved through generations of singers.

Chris and Cari and other friends will be back in Rhode Island November 2nd for the Second Annual Mountain Music in the Ocean State Festival as well as next April for another series of events.


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