OHR Offstage: Fiddles! Fiddles! Fiddles!


Manage episode 182510151 series 1086425
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One of the unique experiences for visitors to the Ozark Folk Center is the intimate matinee performances by our guest musicians. The shows are a unique way for musicians and guests share a time and space much different than a traditional indoor performance venue. There are often Q &A sessions, jokes, stories and of course, the occasional request from an audience member that make these sets so popular. These performances take place in the backdrop of the Ozark Folk Center State Park Craft Village, a large outdoor area, home to over 20 artisans who demonstrate traditional and contemporary craftsmanship on site. Nestled in the center of the Craft Village is an old wooden covered stage. The area seats about 50 people but is always overflowing with people for the matinee sets by our guest artists. Jay Ungar and Molly Mason are veterans of the acoustic music scene on the East coast and have been performing together for well over 20 years. Jay and Molly’s performance at the Ozark Folk Center State Park highlights all aspects of their musical style and ability. Ungar was born in the Bronx, the son of immigrant Jewish parents from Eastern Europe. He frequented Greenwich Village music venues during his formative period in the 1960s. He is probably best known for "Ashokan Farewell" (1982,) originally composed as a lament, which was used as the theme tune to the Ken Burns documentary The Civil War (1990.) Molly Mason has been a regular performer on Prairie Home Companion. In 1991, Ungar married Molly Mason, whom he had first met during the 1970s. They continue to perform as a duo, with their band, Swingology, and as the Jay Ungar and Molly Mason Family Band with Jay's daughter Ruthy Ungar (her mother is Lyn Hardy) and Ruthy's husband Michael Merenda. In 1992, Ungar and Mason provided the soundtrack to the acclaimed documentary film Brother's Keeper. In 2006 they headlined the Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle. Dennis Stroughmatt is a renaissance man. His passion for the Creole fiddle and French music of the Southern Illinois/Missouri region has lead him on a journey to the backwoods of Louisiana and the University of Quebec. He has nearly single handedly revitalized the original Creole music and French culture of the Illinois-Missouri region by rekindling a love and passion for the culture and song. Masters of Texas style swing, fiddle and three voice harmony, The Quebe Sisters bring it like few can. Like other family and sibling performers we’ve featured on Ozark Highlands Radio, the Quebe Sisters (Grace, Sophia, and Hulda) have formed a sound and style that is both traditional and familiar, yet all their own. Each sister an accomplished fiddle player and singer, the trio specializes in western swing tunes with their signature three part harmony. In this week’s “From the Vault” segment, musician, educator, and country music legacy Mark Jones offers an archival recording of Ozark original Shirley Greenfield singing the traditional song “Don’t Sing Love Songs, You’ll Wake My Mother,” from the Ozark Folk Center State Park archives. Author, folklorist, and songwriter Charley Sandage presents an historical portrait of the people, events, and indomitable spirit of Ozark culture that resulted in the creation of the Ozark Folk Center State Park and its enduring legacy of music and craft. This episode focuses on Dr. Bill McNeil, the long time archivist at the Ozark Folk Center. For thirty years, from 1975 until his untimely passing in 2005, Dr. Bill McNeil served as the Ozark Folk Center’s folklorist and all-purpose advisor on all things dealing with traditional Ozark culture. During his tenure at the Folk Center, Bill McNeil guided the establishment of the Ozark Cultural Resource Center, an archival and teaching facility on the Folk Center’s grounds. This installment examines Dr. McNeil’s interest in the evolution of folk music traditions.

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