(b Big Cove, Qualla Boundary, NC, May 13, 1918; d Big Cove, March 28, 2012). Native American elder, singer, dancer, banjoist, and teacher. A member of the Cherokee tribe, he was introduced to Cherokee music and dance as a child by his uncle Will West Long, an elder in the Big Cove community and co-author of Cherokee Dance and Drama (Berkeley, 1951, 2/1983). He taught and performed Cherokee music and dance and formed the Raven Rock Dancers in the 1980s. Calhoun is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing his work as a teacher and culture bearer including the first Sequoyah Award in 1988, the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award in 1990, and a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1992. He may be heard on such albums as Where the Ravens Roost: Cherokee Traditional Songs of Walker Calhoun (Mountain Heritage Center Recording, ...
Mareia Quintero Rivera
(b San Juan, PR, July 10, 1910; d Carolina, PR, July 21, 1996). American Puerto Rican composer, singer, percussionist, dancer, and drum-maker. A master of traditional bomba and plena, he was one the most prominent figures of Afro-Puerto Rican musical folklore in the 20th century. He is also known for his commitment to passing down these traditions to subsequent generations. Together with his wife, Caridad Brenes, a gifted dancer, he raised a family of skilled practitioners and maintained a lifelong practice of teaching in the community of Villa Palmeras, Santurce, the working-class area where they lived.
Cepeda was a key figure in gaining national and international recognition for Afro-Puerto Rican musical genres. In the 1940s he created an ensemble for radio performances, and he later developed a stage version of bomba, which he presented in San Juan’s major hotels. Several of his compositions were popularized by Ismael Rivera and Rafael Cortijo. Cepeda also developed ties with the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, founded in ...
(b Knockgrania, Co. Sligo, Ireland, Jan 31, 1891; d New York, NY, Jan 4, 1946). American Traditional Irish music fiddler and stepdancer. The most influential Irish fiddler of the 20th century, he first learned tunes and techniques informally from Philip O’Beirne, John O’Dowd, Richard Brennan, and other local musicians, as well as from family members. He was also an accomplished stepdancer who could fiddle and dance simultaneously. Coleman competed in several nationalist festivals, including the Sligo Feis Ceoil and the 1913 Oireachtas, where he encountered musicians from around Ireland, including Bridget Kenny, the so-called Queen of Irish Fiddlers. Soon thereafter, Coleman traded local respect for international fame: he moved to New York in 1914, and after a brief stint in vaudeville on the Keith theater circuit, he embarked on a broadcasting and recording career that produced 80 commercial 78 rpm sides. He married Marie Fanning in 1917, and their one child, Mary, was born in ...
(b Hillsborough, NC, April 4, 1929). American Piedmont blues guitarist, singer, dancer, and storyteller. He grew up on a farm in rural Orange County, North Carolina. When he was 13 or 14 years old, he learned acoustic guitar by watching his uncle and cousin. He drew repertoire from the artists he heard on the radio, such as Blind Boy Fuller, Brownie McGhee, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. He played at social gatherings in the community and added buck- and tap-dancing, which he also learned from his uncle and cousin. In 1954 he moved to Durham where he started to play electric guitar and incorporated more modern blues, including songs by Muddy Waters and Jimmy Reed. Teaming up with pianist Quentin “Fris” Holloway (1918–2008), Holeman performed in and around Durham. In 1976 folklorist Glenn Hinson invited Holeman to a local festival that attracted 5000 audience members. Since then he has been playing professionally. During the 1980s, he toured in and outside the United States with Holloway. While his precise finger picking––as heard in “Step It Up and Go” (...
[Bill, Merry ]
(b Headington Quarry, Oxon, 1872; d after 1949). English traditional concertina player and morris dancer. Kimber’s grandfather and father were both central figures in the Headington Quarry Morris team that has danced annually at Whitsuntide since at least the mid-18th century. Kimber, who accompanied the Headington Quarry Morris team from 1888, learnt his concertina technique from his father.
It could be argued that the folkdance movement was founded on Boxing Day 1899, when Cecil Sharp saw the Headington Quarry Morris team perform. Sharp noted morris tunes from Kimber the next day and, when Mary Neil invited Kimber to London to teach the girls at the Esperance Guild, Sharp became reacquainted with him. Kimber subsequently became integral to Sharp’s didactic folkdance programme: Sharp lectured and played the piano; Kimber danced and played the concertina. They taught regularly at Chelsea Polytechnic and the Royal Academy of Music, and played several times at the Queen’s Hall and the Steinway Hall. After Sharp’s death, Kimber continued the same working relationship with Douglas Kennedy, Sharp’s successor in the English Folk Dance Society (...
[Marion Joseph ]
(b Indianapolis, July 22, 1915). American trumpeter, singer, and dancer. From 1932 he was featured as a singer and dancer in New York shows, notably Blackbirds of 1939. In 1941 he was a master of ceremonies at Kelly’s Stable and took part in jam sessions as a drummer at Monroe’s Uptown House. He recorded as a singer with Count Basie in May 1942, and he may be seen in the soundie A Song and Dance Man (1943). In 1944–5 he toured North Africa and Asia as a member of a USO unit led by Alberta Hunter; this tour included a month’s residency in Casablanca. In the late 1940s and early 1950s Miller worked around New York; he recorded again as a singer with Basie in 1947 and 1949. In 1953, as a member of Mezz Mezzrow’s band, he traveled to France, Switzerland, Italy, Morocco, and Belgium, where he recorded under his own name with a band in which Buck Clayton and Kansas Fields were sidemen; on ...
(b Drumfin, Ireland, May 3, 1893; d New York, NY, Nov 11, 1947). Fiddler and step dancer of Irish birth, active in the United States. Along with Michael Coleman and Paddy Killoran, he was one of the most renowned players in the Sligo style. He learned music from his brothers and other local musicians, including the fiddler Tom Johnston and the traveling blind uilleann piper Johnny Gorman. Morrison also received formal instruction in reading and writing music from a local priest, as well as dancing lessons from his uncle, Charlie Dolan. He became a traveling teacher of dancing and Irish for the Gaelic League, a nationalist cultural organization. Faced with bleak economic prospects in Ireland, Morrison joined five of his siblings in Boston in 1915 and followed his future wife, Teresa Flynn, to New York in 1918. There he won the fiddle competition at the city’s Feis in ...
(b Chicago, Dec 10, 1913; d New York, Jan 28, 1976). American trumpeter, cornetist, violinist, singer, and dancer. He learned piano from the age of six, initially taking lessons from his mother. Later he took up violin, taught himself trumpet, and marched as a drum master in high school. From 1932 to 1937 he led a sextet in Chicago, then worked, principally as a trumpeter, with Earl Hines (February 1937 – December 1938) and Horace Henderson (January 1939 – March 1940). In 1940, after spending eight months performing as a solo act – singing, dancing, and playing both trumpet and violin – he joined Duke Ellington, with whom he remained until 1963 apart from a few periods, including nine months’ leave in 1944 to lead his own quartet. While with Ellington, Nance continued to make use of all his talents. He often performed as a singer and dancer, and the full and penetrating tone he obtained on violin was the highlight of many of the band’s recordings, including ...
John Storm Roberts
[Pozo Gonzales, Luciano ]
(b Havana, Cuba, Jan 7, 1915; d New York, NY, Dec 2, 1948). Cuban drummer, singer, and dancer. His drumming and singing were rooted in Santeria, the lucumí faith derived from West African rituals. On 29 September 1947 he and the bongo player Chiquitico performed in a concert at Carnegie Hall with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie—a landmark event in the history of fusing elements of jazz and Latin music. Pozo was murdered before he could fully develop his ideas with Gillespie, but during his brief career in the United States he provided the starting point for much popular music of the late 1940s and the 50s. The collaboration between the two men, which produced the infectious “Manteca” (1947), supplied the initiative for American musicians, and some of the listening public, to appreciate fully the tradition of Latin music.D. Gillespie and A. Fraser: To Be, or Not … to Bop: Memoirs...
John L. Clark Jr.
(b Chattanooga, TN, 2 June ?1900; d New York, NY, May 30, 1956). American singer, trumpeter, and dancer. Daughter of a mixed-race couple who were both entertainers and musicians, she learned several instruments before deciding to concentrate on trumpet. By the 1920s she was touring the T.O.B.A. circuit with various revues, and in 1926 she visited Shanghai. In 1935, her performance in Blackbirds of 1934 brought her to England, where she began making records that showed her chief instrumental and vocal influence to be Louis Armstrong. After a brief return in 1936 to the United States, where she performed with Earl Hines in Chicago and made films in Hollywood, Snow moved to Europe, where she made more films and recordings. She was incarcerated in a Nazi concentration camp in Denmark in 1940 and was badly injured before being exchanged in 1943. After a recuperation period she continued touring and recording until her death during a comeback appearance at the Palace Theatre. Snow stands out from other women performers of her time in that she was known as much as an instrumentalist as a singer. Her extensive touring probably cost her the name recognition that professional stability might have brought, but her recordings show her to have been a fine, swing-influenced trumpeter and vocalist....
(b Boskovice, 19 Jan 1984).Czech composer and performer (voice, accordion, and tap dance). She studied the accordion (2004–10) and composition (2007–8) at the Brno Conservatory, and composition at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (with martin smolka and Peter Graham). She also studied as an exchange student at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, the California Institute of the Arts (with michael pisaro), the Universität der Künste Berlin (with Marc Sabat), and Columbia University (with george e. lewis).
While she often works with elements outside of music, there is almost always an intense engagement with direct listening, often arrived at through intense focus on very limited material. Sources for her work include Morse code, maps of garments which she turns into scores (Shirt for Harp, Oboe, and Accordion; Jacket for Ensemble), field recordings which she notates descriptively and then asks musicians to interpret the notation (...
(b Bampton, Oxon., 1868; d after 1949). English country fiddler, melodeon player, dancer and Morris fool. The son of a footman, he earned his living as a hawker around the neighbouring villages of Bampton. In 1887, he began to play the part of the fool for the Bampton Morris team and gradually became the driving force behind its organization. He first played the fiddle for them two years later. In 1926, after some disagreement, Wells played fiddle for a set of newly trained dancers while Bertie Clark played for the established team. Wells's last official performance was in 1949.
In 1909, folksong and dance collector, Cecil Sharp met Jinky Wells and the Bampton Morris in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, later publishing some of the tunes he noted down from them. In 1913, Mary Neal invited Wells and the Bampton Morris to take part in May Day revels at the Globe Theatre, London; and in ...