Art Works Blog

Let's Talk Tradition!

Need something to do this weekend while you're waiting to find out who's in the 2014 class of NEA National Heritage Fellows? Might we suggest a podcast or two or eight? (Click on the Heritage Fellows' names to access the full podcast.)

"I didn't do it because it was something that I thought I was going to profit from. I did it simply because my mother said, do it. I want you to sing for me." ---Johnny Lewis of the Paschall Brothers, Tidewater Gospel Quartet

"What makes shipbuilding important to me is not that the fact that I'm an 11th generation, but that I'm carrying on an ancient tradition in an area, in a place where it's happened for many generations." ---Harold Burnham, master shipwright

I really like to look at a tune, whether it's an old tune or a new tune, and I really like to take a look and see what might be there...." ---Liz Carroll, Irish fiddler

"We, in our culture, have done a lot of things to separate people into different parts of neighborhoods or a community or whatever. But you need activities, programs and places where people come together and celebrate a sense of community. And the arts do that well. The folk arts do that especially well." ---Albert Head, executive director, Alabama Arts Council

"I grew up with this duality of playing on the oud and the violin and this duality kept haunting me throughout my life, because, you know, I compose in Arabic styles and Western styles, and do many things in various traditions." ---Simon Shaheen, Arab-American oud player

"I think part of the inescapable appeal of folklore is its intimacy and its significance for the people who carry it on and shape it, reshape it in some way." ---Judith McCulloh, folklorist and editor

"At the breakup of the plantation system, when families acquired land and started a new way of life, they kept this tradition going among family members because they wanted the future generation to have these baskets as evidence of why they came here and where they came. So part of our history we will always have with us." ---Mary Jackson, sweetgrass basket weaver

"In essence, if you want to be an innovator in a style, you need to preservationist also, because until you can speak the stylistic language fluently, you can't really understand how to innovate in the style." ---Andy Statman, Klezmer clarinetist, mandolin player, composer

Visit our News Room on Tuesday, June 4 to find out who's a 2014 NEA National Heritage Fellow! And visit the Heritage page on our website to learn more about these master folk and traditional artists and arts advocates.

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