Category Archives: folklore

One man’s opinion: if I had to choose the hardest gig in show business or performance, without a doubt I would say “comedian.” It is hard to spin a funny story. It is hard to tell a joke. It is hard … Continue reading

Humanity has undoubtedly told stories since forever. Possibly our ancestors acted or danced them before speech found its way into our brains. Writing brought religious texts and Gilgamesh but even then, tale-telling remained a largely oral art until literacy became … Continue reading

In Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics, musician, dancer, and scholar Phil Jamison tells the story behind the square dances, step dances, reels, and other forms of dance practiced in southern Appalachia. Jamison’s journey to learn and share the history and evolution … Continue reading

Daisy Turner, the shotgun-wielding centenarian, was someone Jane Beck was anxious to meet. Beck, the Executive Director Emeritus and Founder of the Vermont Folklife Center, recounted her first encounter with Daisy Turner on the Vermont PBS program Connect. “First and foremost, she was … Continue reading

Daisy Turner was a woman of many words. The storyteller and poet was a living repository of history. She related the stories of her own family, from the abduction of her ancestors in West Africa to her own upbringing in … Continue reading

In the temperate zone of North America, June is busting out all over. The tree near the railroad tracks spreads its verdant canopy over lunchtime picnickers. Staff gardener Margo tirelessly plows and prunes and plants in the tiny garden plot … Continue reading

Squeeze This! A Cultural History of the Accordion in America by Marion Jacobson has won the 2014 Klaus Wachsmann Prize for Advanced and Critical Essays in Organology from the Society for Ethnomusicology. The award is given every two years to “recognize … Continue reading

In honor of Halloween, we have slunk into the UIP vault of horror to dig up books both Profound and Mysterious to get you in the mood for our most popular pagan holiday. Will any of these titles help you … Continue reading

Tonight, the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) will induct folklorist, musician, bluegrass historian, and University of Illinois Press author Neil V. Rosenberg into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame at its awards show in Raleigh, North Carolina. Rosenberg currently serves … Continue reading

For the first time in his 30 year career, singer, parodist and accordionist “Weird Al” Yankovic has a #1 slot on the Billboard charts with his album Mandatory Fun. What’s more, Al’s accordion-driven single “NOW That’s What I Call Polka!” … Continue reading