A! Magazine for the Arts

Joe Thompson in concert

Joe Thompson in concert

Films Focus on Region's Musical Heritage

December 19, 2006

The Birthplace of Country Music Allianceand the Bristol YWCA will present a documentary film series showcasing the roots of traditional Appalachian music. The series will include the showing of four documentaries to both school groups and the general public. The documentary makers will be on hand to introduce the films, discuss the subject matter, and their reasons for making the films. The films are tentatively scheduled to be shown to the public January 26, February 13, March 9, and April 27.

The four films will highlight the roots and influences of traditional Appalachian music. Two of the films focus on two African-American musicians. A third film, The Appalachians, has been aired nationally on PBS and interweaves the story of the region with its musical and cultural heritage. The fourth, Orient Express, shows the influence of the region's music overseas, as it follows the ETSU Bluegrass Band on a trip to Japan.

The first film will be The Life and Times of Joe Thompson on Friday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. Thompson, one of North Carolina's oldest and most celebrated musicians, is renowned for his fiddle playing and is believed to be the last well-known African-American fiddle player in the state. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and received the North Carolina Folklife Award. Following the showing, filmmaker Iris Chapman will provide a discussion and commentary.

Admission to the documentaries is free to the public. Showings will be held at the Bristol YWCA, 106 State Street. The series is sponsored in part by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

For more information, visit www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org or call 276-645-0111.