2013 NEA National Heritage Fellowships - Concert

2013 NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium on September 27, 2013. Photos by Michael G. Stewart  

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David Ivey.

David Ivey leads a group of Sacred Harp singers. Sacred Harp, or "shape note," singing traces its legacy back to colonial New England, from which it spread to other parts of the early United States through the work of itinerant singing masters.

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David Ivey leads a group of Shape Note singers.

Shape Note singers from Alabama and Georgia traveled to Washington, DC, to perform with David Ivey at the concert.

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Members of the Lummi tribe's song-and-dance group Setting Sun Dancers perform.

Pauline Hillaire, recipient of the Bess Lomax Hawes NEA National Heritage Fellowship, was unable to attend the concert but members of the Lummi tribe's song-and-dance group Setting Sun Dancers performed in her honor.

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Pauline Hillaire's grandson, Ben Covington, and concert emcee Nick Spitzer.

Pauline Hillaire's grandson, Ben Covington, who represented his grandmother at the concert, is interviewed by concert emcee Nick Spitzer. He said, "My grandmother gathers her strength from her great-grandfather, Frank Hillaire, and Joseph Hillaire, her father. Her name, [Scälla means] 'of the killer whale.' The killer whale is a pillar and guardian of the sea, much as my grandmother is a pillar and guardian of our way of life."

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Ramón "Chunky" S&aacoute;nchez.

A musician, songwriter, educator, and activist, Ramón "Chunky" Sánchez has become a cultural icon and leader of the Chicano community. At the concert, he described his experiences working with youth today: "You are always optimistic, regardless of what the situation looks like. Cesar Chavez used to say "si se puede"---"we can overcome" and we will overcome. With young kids, it seems to get to them, the songs. Especially one of the schools I work with, King Chavez Elementary and all the parents there and all the staff, and Scott, the principal---I wish him well. Because we got the whole school singing."

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 Nicolae Feraru performs with his son Laurentiu Feraru on the cimbalom, Sile Dorel on the accordion, and Branislav Djordjevic on the piano.

A master of the cimbalom, a traditional Gypsy instrument similar to the hammered dulcimer, Nicolae Feraru performs with his son Laurentiu Feraru on the cimbalom, Sile Dorel on the accordion, and Branislav Djordjevic on the piano.

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Nicolae Feraru.

At the concert, Nicolae Feraru described the difference between Romanian and Gypsy music: "The gypsy music reflects what is a problem for the Gypsy. [The music] reflects their situation---they are poor, they don't have the money. They have difficult things to do. Many of the music is about nature and water, free totally."

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Verónica Castillo, with friend and translator Norma Cantu, is interviewed by concert emcee Nick Spitzer.

Verónica Castillo, with friend and translator Norma Cantu, is interviewed by concert emcee Nick Spitzer. Castillo's family is known for their creation of Arbol de la Vida (Tree of Life) and candelabra sculptures, an art form which originated in Mexico's Puebla area.

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Three sculptures by Verónica Castillo.

These sculptures traditionally depict religious scenes, but Castillo's works also focus and comment on social and contemporary issues such as the environment and violence on the border.

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Sheila Kay Adams.

Seventh generation ballad singer Sheila Kay Adams from the Sodom Laurel community of Madison County, North Carolina, performs "Fly 'Round My Pretty Little Miss."

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Ralph Burns.

Pyramid Lake Paiute elder, storyteller, and native-language specialist Ralph Burns tells his tribe's creation story.

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Séamus Connolly.

Irish fiddler Séamus Connolly performs a medley of tunes. Connolly began playing the fiddle at age 12 and by his mid-twenties had won the Irish National Fiddle Championship ten times, a feat unequalled by any other musician.

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Séamus Connolly (far right) performs with Zan McLeod (guitar), Billy McComisky (accordion), Jimmy Noonan (flute), and Kevin Doyle (step dancer).

Séamus Connolly (far right) performs with Zan McLeod (guitar), Billy McComisky (accordion), Jimmy Noonan (flute), and Kevin Doyle (step dancer).

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Nick Spitzer interviews Carol Fran.

Nick Spitzer interviews swamp blues singer and pianist Carol Fran who began her career at the age of 15, when she joined the tour of Joe Lutcher, the Louisiana jump blues saxophonist, and his band, the Society Cats.

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Carol Fran performs with Davell Crawford (piano), Detroit Brooks (guitar), Mark Brooks (bass), Stephen Gladney (saxophone), and Adonis Rose (drums).

Carol Fran performs with her godson Davell Crawford (piano), Detroit Brooks (guitar), Mark Brooks (bass), Stephen Gladney (saxophone), and Adonis Rose (drums).

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Carol Fran performs with the other 2013 NEA National Heritage Fellows and their family and friends.

Carol Fran performs "This Little Light of Mine" with the other 2013 NEA National Heritage Fellows and their family and friends.

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The 2013 NEA National Heritage Fellows and their family and friends celebrate during the concert finale.

The 2013 NEA National Heritage Fellows and their family and friends celebrate during the concert finale.

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The 2013 NEA National Heritage Fellows and their family and friends celebrate during the concert finale.

The 2013 NEA National Heritage Fellows and their family and friends celebrate during the concert finale.