Musical Connections

Dec 1, 2014
Musicians' Union, UK

This past September, British Folksong Archivist, Amanda Boyd, brought her show highlighting the musical connection between Southwest England and Southwest Virginia here for a special series of programs. 

After her performance at the Lincoln Theater in Marion, Virginia, she traveled around the region for two weeks. She retraced the steps of early twentieth century British Folklorist, Cecil Sharp, collected slightly different versions of the same folk songs, from people in Virginia and in Britain.

One of tenets of Buddhism is: ‘We’re all connected.’ A live concert this Friday night at Virginia Tech will celebrate that idea. Faculty from The School of Performing Arts will perform with Musicians in California, New York and Mexico. They’ll all be connected via the Internet and the public is invited.

Rocking the Wall

Nov 6, 2014

On Sunday the world will remember a startling event.  Twenty-five years ago, East Germany announced it would no longer stop its people from passing through a wall that had divided Germany for a generation. 

Historians point to the impending collapse of the Soviet Union, supposing the new leader of that country, Mikael Gorbachov, would no longer  support East German leaders, but there’s another theory going around – a claim that rock and roll music helped topple the wall.

Over the years, Virginia has nurtured a variety of arts and crafts - from beekeeping  and quilting to making farm implements and mole sauce. 

The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities wants to keep these traditions alive through an apprenticeship program pairing young people with old masters willing to share their skills. 

“No, no.  They’re below the finished or special export they call it now, but anyway they’re decent.”

Cigar Box Blues

Oct 1, 2014

Hard economic times sometimes give rise to remarkable products, and here in Virginia one of them is making a comeback. 

The cigar box guitar was especially popular during the Great Depression, and these days you’ll find YouTube videos showing how to make your own. 

We talked with a retired plumber who’s devoting his life to the instrument.

Steve Armstrong has been many things in his life – a Marine who served in Vietnam, a biker with heavy tattoos, a plumber who supported a wife and kids, and a musician who was well-known in Richmond, Virginia.