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Folklife Festival 2003 > Appalachia> Performers > African American Music
african-american music
John Dee Holeman, Durham, North Carolina, guitar
Melvin Alston, Durham, North Carolina, guitar

—John Dee Holeman is a master bluesman and buck dancer. In 1988 he was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He was also the winner of a North Carolina Folk Heritage Award in 1994. He is accompanied by Melvin Alston.

Nat Reese, Princeton, West Virginia, guitar

—Nat Reese grew up in the coal fields of West Virginia and began to perform blues and string band music in the coal fields in the 1930s. He is the 1995 winner of the Vandalia Award, West Virginia's highest folklife honor.
James "Sparky" Rucker, Maryville, Tennessee, guitar
Rhonda Rucker, Maryville, Tennessee, harmonica
—Sparky and Rhonda Rucker are performers and scholars of traditional African-American music. Sparky Rucker is a folklorist, historian, musician, storyteller, and author. His performances include music and stories from the history of African-American traditions. Playing banjo, guitar, and spoons, he is accompanied by his wife.
Joe Thompson, Mebane, North Carolina, fiddle
Bob Carlin, Lexington, North Carolina, banjo
The black string band tradition is quickly disappearing, and there are few players left. One of the few is Joe Thompson, who along with his late cousin Odell entertained in North Carolina for many years. He was the winner of a North Carolina Folk Heritage Award in 1991. He will be accompanied by Bob Carlin on banjo.
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