2010 NEA National Heritage Fellowships Celebration - Award Ceremony

NEA National Heritage Fellowships Awards Ceremony at the Capitol Visitors Center on September 22, 2009

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The 2010 NEA National Heritage Fellows.

The 2010 NEA National Heritage Fellows. Back row from left to right: NEA Director of Folk and Traditional Arts Barry Bergey, Bharatanatyam Indian dancer Kamala Lakshmi Narayanan, fiddler Jim “Texas Shorty” Chancellor, bluegrass guitarist and singer Del McCoury, Irish flute player Mike Rafferty, and NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. Front row from left to right: lauhala (palm leaf) weaver Gladys Kukana Grace, folklorist and editor Judith McCulloh, sweetgrass basketweaver Mary Jackson, and Ghanaian drum master Yacub Addy. (Not pictured: Afro-Cuban drummer and drum-builder Ezequiel Torres)

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Yacub Addy, a Ghanaian drum master from Latham, New York, accepts his NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman.

Yacub Addy, a Ghanaian drum master from Latham, New York, accepts his NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. At the ceremony, Rocco Landesman said, “A master of the traditional Ga music, Yacub Addy is a generous mentor of aspiring drummers as well as a collaborator with jazz and popular musicians, who has created new works that speak to issues of social and cultural relevance today.”

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Jim “Texas Shorty” Chancellor, a fiddler from Rockwall, Texas, accepts his NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman.

Jim “Texas Shorty” Chancellor, a fiddler from Rockwall, Texas, accepts his NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. At the ceremony, Rocco Landesman said, “A master of the intricate and ornamented style of fiddling known as the Texas style, Jim Chancellor could fill a trophy case with the local, state, and world championships he has won. He is a patient and skilled teacher of a new generation of fiddle artists across the country, but one who will remain always a sincere student of the tradition he loves.”

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Gladys Kukana Grace, a lauhala weaver from Honolulu, Hawaii, accepts her NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman (center) and Senator Daniel Inouye at an awards ceremony at the Library of Congress on September 22, 2010.

Gladys Kukana Grace, a lauhala weaver from Honolulu, Hawaii, accepts her NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman (center) and Senator Daniel Inouye at an awards ceremony at the Library of Congress on September 22, 2010. At the ceremony, Rocco Landesman said, “A master of lauhala weaving, Gladys Kukana Grace is a mentor to hundreds of aspiring students and an innovator who specializes in weaving intricate patterns in one of the most challenging shapes – the hat.”

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Senator Daniel Akaka congratulates NEA National Heritage Fellow and lauhala weaver Gladys Kukana Grace.

Senator Daniel Akaka congratulates NEA National Heritage Fellow and lauhala weaver Gladys Kukana Grace.

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Mary Jackson, a sweetgrass basketweaver from Johns Island, South Carolina, accepts her NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from Representative James E. Clyburn (center) and NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman.

Mary Jackson, a sweetgrass basketweaver from Johns Island, South Carolina, accepts her NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from Representative James E. Clyburn (center) and NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. At the ceremony, Rocco Landesman said, “A master of the ancient art of sweetgrass basketry, Mary Jackson is an innovator of basket designs and an advocate for all the basketmakers of the Low Country who has increased public awareness of the environmental and social issues that are central to this tradition.”

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Del McCoury, a bluegrass guitarist and singer from Hendersonville, Tennessee, accepts his NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman.

Del McCoury, a bluegrass guitarist and singer from Hendersonville, Tennessee, accepts his NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. At the ceremony, Rocco Landesman said, “Del McCoury is a distinctive singer whose penetrating vocals epitomize bluegrass standards of tradition and excellence. He is an innovator who has adapted the work of contemporary songwriters to reach new and broader audiences.”

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Kamala Lakshmi Narayanan, a Bharatanatyam Indian dancer from Mastic, New York, accepts her NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman.

Kamala Lakshmi Narayanan, a Bharatanatyam Indian dancer from Mastic, New York, accepts her NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. At the ceremony, Rocco Landesman said, “Kamala Lakshmi Narayanan is a master of south Indian classical dance whose name is synonymous with the art form. She is both a performer who has danced before queens, prime ministers, and presidents and a teacher who has trained students for the past three decades.”

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Mike Rafferty, an Irish flute player from Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, accepts his NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman (left) and Congressman Steve Rothman.

Mike Rafferty, an Irish flute player from Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, accepts his NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman (left) and Congressman Steve Rothman. At the ceremony, Rocco Landesman said, “Mike Rafferty is a master of the Irish flute who learned from family and friends in a small village in East Galway. He is an artist who brought his musical excellence to his new home in Hasbrouck Heights and has increased our appreciation of Irish music throughout the United States.”

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Ezequiel Torres, an Afro-Cuban drummer and drum-builder from Miami, Florida, accepts his NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman.

Ezequiel Torres, an Afro-Cuban drummer and drum-builder from Miami, Florida, accepts his NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. At the ceremony, Rocco Landesman said, “A master of the Afro-Cuban batá drumming tradition, Ezequiel Torres is an accomplished maker of drums and an expert in the beaded decoration of the instruments and garments used for Orisha ceremonies. He is a spiritual leader for the Cuban community of southern Florida, as well as Cubans throughout the United States.”

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Judith McCulloh, a folklorist and editor from Urbana, Illinois, accepts the 2010 Bess Lomax Hawes National Heritage Fellowship award from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman (left) and Senator Roland W. Burris at an awards ceremony at the Library of Congress on

Judith McCulloh, a folklorist and editor from Urbana, Illinois, accepts the 2010 Bess Lomax Hawes National Heritage Fellowship award from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman (left) and Senator Roland W. Burris at an awards ceremony at the Library of Congress on September 22, 2010. The Bess Lomax Hawes Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to the preservation and awareness of cultural heritage. At the ceremony, Rocco Landesman said, “An editor who has initiated a groundbreaking series of publications on American music and American folklore, Judith McCulloh is a tireless advocate for the importance of preserving, understanding, and documenting American folk culture.”

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NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman addresses the 2010 National Heritage Fellows and their family and friends at the awards ceremony.

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman addresses the 2010 National Heritage Fellows and their family and friends at the awards ceremony: “At the NEA, we are working to make sure that we are set up to invest in, support, and celebrate all the arts in this country – the well-made plays and string quartets, the shape note singers and the sweetgrass basketweavers, and the art forms that are even emerging now: mash-ups and flash mobs. We are doing this because we know that art works.”