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FREE Concert: Traditional Appalachian Music of SW Pennsylvania

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Synod Hall auditorium

125 North Craig Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15213

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Traditional Appalachian music of southwest Pennsylvania played by fiddler Mark Tamsula, banjo and flute player Richard Withers, singer Ellen Gozion and guitarist Dave Krysty!!!

Long before the rise of the radio and the advent of the record player, the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania rang with the music of fiddle and fife, with old melodies first brought to the New World by immigrants from Britain, Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

Many of the players couldn’t read music, so the tradition spread aurally from one generation to the next. Thriving communities of fiddlers fueled the local dance halls in places like Derry in Westmoreland County and Dunbar in Fayette County, and fifers played traditional marches in holiday parades.

It was in 1928 in the hills surrounding Dunbar that folklorist Samuel Preston Bayard, then just 20 years old, found the cache of fiddlers he’d use as the main source for his 1944 book of ‘old-time’ melodies, Hill Country Tunes. They were older men, former miners, farmers and gunsmiths, one even a toymaker.

Bayard didn’t have the benefit of a recording device, so he took down the Dunbar men’s tunes by hand.

“He didn’t have a car at the time, so if he could hitch a ride with the milkman or somebody, they’d take him to see someone, and that fiddler would refer him to someone else,” said fiddler Mark Tamsula. “So, he traveled around through Greene County, Washington County, even into Ohio and West Virginia to some degree.”

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Synod Hall auditorium

125 North Craig Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15213

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