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Athens State to Host Folklife Expert for Black History Month
Event rescheduled to Feb. 18

Janurary 24, 2014

ATHENS, Ala. - In celebration of Black History Month, Athens State University will host a lecture by Joyce Cauthen, Director Emeritus of the Alabama Folklife Association. Cauthen will speak Tuesday, February 18 at 7:00 p.m. in Room 104 of the Classroom Building. The Classroom Building is located across from the Library on Pryor Street on the north side of campus.

Cauthen’s presentation, entitled Fiddlers, Banjo Players and Strawbeaters: Alabama’s First Pop Musicians, will discuss the pivotal role played by African Americans in developing the music at the roots of today’s bluegrass and country music. She and her husband Jim Cauthen will demonstrate use of the banjo, “straws” (a technique in which broom straws or knitting needles were beat on the strings as the fiddler played) and guitar in backing up the fiddle. The audience will hear musical styles and tunes that are seldom heard today—and will have the opportunity to ask questions and share their perceptions of the differences in this music and the modern country music that are based upon it.

“This topic focuses on the history of African American achievement in the development of an unexpected genre of music, and with Athens State’s history as the host of the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention I feel it will have a broad appeal,” states Sarah McAbee, Athens State’s Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services. “Ms. Cauthen will be an excellent and informative speaker for our students, faculty, and for the community.” In 2011, Cauthen was honored by the Alabama State Council on the Arts with a Governor's Arts Award. The Cauthens live in Birmingham, Alabama. In their spare time they play in two old-time string bands, Red Mountain and Flying Jenny.

The lecture is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by The Alabama Humanities Foundation’s Road Scholar Speakers Bureau. The Road Scholars Speakers Bureau provides public presentations and lectures on a variety of humanities topics. Designed to educate and entertain, the programs are presented by Alabama’s most enlightening university and independent scholars.

For more information, call 256-233-8296.


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