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One hundred years ago, folk song collector Cecil Sharp made an arduous journey from England to the southern Appalachians in search of a musical holy grail. Sharp was seeking what he believed were the oldest, purest forms of British Isles balladry in oral tradition.

A group of musicians circled up at the Mount Airy Old-Time RetreatIn 1916, he began visiting remote mountain communities in the “laurel country” of western North Carolina. Within weeks Sharp met singers who knew hundreds of folk songs of English, Irish and Scottish origin, along with an equally rich repertoire of American ballads. He and colleague Maude Karpeles carefully documented these performances by hand, and by ear, on front porches and in modest log houses and one-room mountain schools.

What impressed Cecil Sharp as much as the beautiful melodies and powerful narratives of the ballads was the role of music in the lives of the people he visited:

I found myself for the first time in my life in a community in which singing was as common and almost as universal practice as speaking… So closely, indeed, is the practice of this particular art interwoven with the ordinary avocations of everyday life that singers, unable to recall a song I had asked for, would often make some such remark as, ‘Oh, if only I were driving the cows home I could sing it at once.’ … I would go away in the evening with the feeling that I had never before been in a more musical atmosphere. Click to continue

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SheVille Team

We are a one-of-a-kind magazine that provides local, regional, national and international information about women’s lives and education, performing and visual arts and writing, the environment, green living and sustainability and regional Western North Carolina business, people and events. “Villages preserve culture: dress, food and dance are a few examples. As villages grow in population and turn into towns, local cafes make way for large American chains. Handmade leather sandals are discarded for a pair of Western sneakers. Due to its small size, a village fosters a tight-knit sense of community. explains the meaning of the African proverb, “It takes a village,” by stating that a sense of community is critical to maintaining a healthy society. Village members hold a wealth of information regarding their heritage: they know about the ancient traditions, methods of production and the resources of the land. When villages become dispersed or exterminated in times of war, this anthropological knowledge disappears. Large cities are not as conducive to growing and producing foods such as fruits and vegetables. Villages, on the other hand, usually have ample amounts of land and other resources necessary for growing conditions.” The Importance of Villages by Catherine Capozzi Our Mission provides readers with information important to women’s lives and well-being. We focus primarily on the areas of education & health, business & finance, the arts & the environment. We are particularly interested in local & regional resources, organizations & events.

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