18 episodes

From folk art and folk music to simple pioneer living, many of North Carolina's residents have passed down history and traditions begun by the first state settlers. Folkways, hosted by Grammy Award-winning musician David Holt, introduces some of the people who strive to keep the state's history alive, either with splendid heritage handcrafting or continuing a vintage way of life that first appeared in the state's earlier days.

Folkways | UNC-TV UNC TV

    • TV & Film

From folk art and folk music to simple pioneer living, many of North Carolina's residents have passed down history and traditions begun by the first state settlers. Folkways, hosted by Grammy Award-winning musician David Holt, introduces some of the people who strive to keep the state's history alive, either with splendid heritage handcrafting or continuing a vintage way of life that first appeared in the state's earlier days.

    • video
    Gospel Music - Large

    Gospel Music - Large

    May’s Folkways’ finale finds two eastern North Carolina pastors sharing their different styles for spreading musical messages of faith.

    • 27 min
    • video
    Dance! - Large

    Dance! - Large

    Next, the infectious energy of square dancing, flat footing, and clogging from a Swannanoa gathering at Warren Wilson College steps up on Dance!

    • 27 min
    • video
    Music of Surry County - Large

    Music of Surry County - Large

    David Holt explains how a group of talented fiddle and banjo players from Surry County, NC, came to have a world-wide impact on Old Time Music. The music originated from English, Scotch-Irish, and African-American musical traditions but it was shaped and cross-pollinated into a distinctly American sound. Tommy Jarrell was one of those most widely known; his intense, driving style and contagious enthusiasm for the music has inspired generations of musician.

    • 27 min
    • video
    The Banjo

    The Banjo

    While the banjo has enjoyed popularity in the South for over 100 years, its history in the world is much longer. The banjo actually originated in Africa, and as Folkways host David Holt explains, slowly migrated to the Southern mountains after the Civil War. The Banjo weaves together the history and technique of the instrument that has made its reputation as an icon of the South to introduce some of its most dedicated players. As the banjo has aged, picking and musical styles have evolved with it, but it still stands as one of the South's most popular musical instruments. Carlie Marion from Elkin, NC, demonstrates the clawhammer style, a picking style popular 100 years ago. David then takes us to Madison, NC, to meet the Senior Band o Madison., a group of three retired men who gather weekly to play some of the older NC folk music. Younger musicians, like Kirk Sutphin, carry on the tradition from fathers or grandfathers and play in some of the fiddlers conventions or with some of the older banjo players. Some of the South's noted musicians like Earl Scruggs and Charlie Poole have legacies that last even now through current generations, as Poole's grandson, who still uses his grandfather's banjo to play in a three-finger picking style that predated bluegrass. Bluegrass, a notable favorite in North Carolina, still rings in North Carolina through players like T.W. Lambert, who talks about why he loves playing it.

    So if you love the rhythmic twang of the banjo and are in the mood for a foot-tapping beat, watch The Banjo and learn about how this wonderful instrument originated while meeting some of its most faithful players.

    • 26 min
    • video
    Coastal Carvers

    Coastal Carvers

    Wooden duck decoys have gained popularity in the last 30 years as both home decorations and treasures passed down from father to son or grandfather to grandson. On the North Carolina coast, however, boat and decoy carving has meant more than trinkets. Woodworkers carve decoys for a variety of reasons. Some still use them to hunt prey. Others enjoy recreating a part of nature. And others make a living selling them, replicating not only ducks but birds and other wild fowl. Decoy-making was so popular on Harkers Island that several carvers decided to band together in a guild and denote a day that they could gather and sell their crafts under one roof. Their ideas resulted in the Core Sound Decoy Carvers Guild and the Core Sound Decoy Festival.

    In Folkways Coastal Carvers, some of the most talented carvers on Harkers Island exhibit their wares and explain how they began making decoys and why they continue. James Rose, miniature boat builder, demonstrates his boats and talks about why he built each one and the significance it has to him. Curt Salter, decoy carver and founding member of the Core Sound Guild, explains step by step how he chooses the wood for a decoy and then cuts and carves it until it resembles a duck's body and head. His collection of historic decoys from a time when they brought home dinner is also quite impressive. Wayne Davis and Carl Huff are two other carvers that have designed their own styles of decoys.

    • 26 min
    • video
    Earth Skills

    Earth Skills

    For the average person today, a typical day means waking up to a cup of coffee brewed from an automatic coffeemaker, perhaps a microwaved packaged pastry or a trip to MacDonald's. Most people don't think of life without the conveniences that automation and fast food restaurants have brought us. However, in a camp in the mountains of Georgia, groups of people flock to retreat from everyday technology and learn how to live on what the earth provides alone. In these Earthskills workshops at Unicoi State Park in Helen, Georgia, participants live in teepees, make their own dishes and utensils, cook over a fire made by rubbing two sticks together, and learn how to form weapons to hunt for their food.

    Folkways Earth Skills introduces these participants, as well as the survival skills they are learning. Differentiating between edible and toxic plants, for instance, proves valuable for meals. Rivercane has various uses, from weapons to baskets. One instructor demonstrates making pottery without the use of a pottery wheel or a large constructed kiln. Workshop participants learn how to make weapons, prepare animal hide for use in clothing or shelter and make a fire without using matches. No telephones, no computers, no electricity--these participants come to the workshop to get in touch with ancient ways and their natural surroundings. While living without meals that can be cooked in less than 15 minutes and gadgets that reduce several of the steps in our tasks may not sound like fun, instructors and participants show that even at the end of a day in which they have made their own utensils, gathered their own food and prepared their own clothing, they still have time to play music and dance.

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

BanjoBeginner ,

Good Effort

The Folkways concept is great and I thoroughly enjoyed the first 8 minutes of the banjo episode until the video froze and the audio died. Seems like poor quality control on the upload, or maybe just my crappy old IPhone 3G?

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