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2017 Homegrown Concerts

Online Archive of Past Homegrown Concerts

All of the materials from the Homegrown Concert Series are available to visitors in the Folklife Reading Room. Selected materials will be made available online as digital versions are available. Scroll down to see available webcasts and event essays.

Fairfield Four

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The Fairfield Four
The Fairfield Four
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September 28, 2017, 12:00 PM
Coolidge Auditorium
Thomas Jefferson Building

View the Webcast

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

View the oral history

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

The Fairfield Four is an African-American gospel quartet that has existed for more than 95 years.  They are best known for their performance in the film O Brother Where Art Thou (2000) and for collaborations with popular artists such as Dolly Parton, John Fogerty, and Vince Gill. As traditional American folk musicians, they have achieved the highest honors possible, including induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, three GRAMMY Awards, and the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. The group was founded as a trio in 1921, but came to be called “The Fairfield Four” after they became a quartet later in the 1920s. Changing lineup through the years, they have sometimes had more than four members, but have kept the name. They have also kept their signature style, the traditional African American a cappella gospel harmony singing they have been known for since the group's inception almost 100 years ago.  Today’s lineup consists of Larrice Byrd, Sr., Bobbye Sherrell, Leveret Allison, and Joe Thompson.

Archive Challenge Sampler Concert

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A collage of portraits of performers, some holding instruments.
Image Credit: Clockwise from top left, Dom Flemons photographed by Steve Winick, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer photographed by Michael G. Stewart, Seth Kibel courtesy of Seth Kibel, Phil Wiggins courtesy of Phil Wiggins, Cissa Paz photographed by Erin Scott
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September 20, 2017, 12:00 PM
Coolidge Auditorium
Thomas Jefferson Building

View the Video Running time 01:27:40

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

For the past few years at the Folk Alliance International conference, the American Folklife Center has been organizing "Archive Challenges," at which we ask an array of different folk musicians to learn material from AFC's archive and perform it in a special showcase. Now for the first time, we're bringing this program here to the Coolidge Auditorium!For this edition, AFC invited 5 distinguished Washington, D.C.-area artists to dig deep into our archive and put their own creative stamp on the songs and tunes they found here. Each of the artists will perform just a couple of songs from the archive to show what a tremendous resource it is for creative work. The artists are Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Dom Flemons, Seth Kibel, Cissa Paz, and Phil Wiggins. At this concert, you will hear the music they fell in love with during their research, imbued with their own creativity and style. 

Established at the Library in 1928, the AFC archive contains everything from the first wax cylinder recordings of Native American song, to John and Alan Lomax's pioneering disc-era recordings, to recent digital documentation of folk concerts of all kinds. Best known performers in the Archive include Muddy Waters, Pete Seeger, Honeyboy Edwards, Woody Guthrie, Aunt Molly Jackson, Lead Belly, Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, and Jean Ritchie… and soon, the performers in this showcase!

The Artists

Phil Wiggins is a two-time winner of the prestigious W.C. Handy Blues Foundation awards, and only the third harmonica player to receive the lifetime honor of an NEA National Heritage Fellowship, which he just received in 2017. He is a versatile traditional harmonica player, continuing the Piedmont blues tradition, a gentle and melodic blues style of the mid-Atlantic region. He plays the diatonic ten-hole harmonica, cupping both hands around the instrument and playing acoustically. Over the years, he has played with Flora Molton, Johnny Shines, Sunnyland Slim, Sam Chatmon, Robert Belfour, Howard Armstrong, John Jackson, and Archie Edwards. His duo with John Cephas performed for 32 years, including shows at Carnegie Hall, Royal Prince Albert Hall in London, the Sydney Opera House, and the White House.

Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer are two-time GRAMMY Award winners who play bluegrass, old-time, folk, and Americana for kids and adults. They have entertained the Queen of Thailand, been keynote singers for the AFL-CIO, and appeared on the Today Show and on National Public Radio. They have advocated in Washington for unions, health care for children and the rights and livelihoods of artists. They have performed at hundreds of bluegrass and folk festivals. The Washington Area Music Association has recognized the duo with over 60 WAMMIE Awards for folk, bluegrass and children's music. They have performed with Pete Seeger, Theodore Bikel, Tom Paxton, Patsy Montana, Riders in the Sky and a wide range of musical luminaries.

Dom Flemons is a musician and singer who currently tours and records as "The American Songster."  He plays a variety of traditional music styles, from hokum blues to cowboy ballads, and from banjo jigs to panpipe tunes. He draws influences from ragtime, Piedmont blues, spirituals, southern traditional music, string bands, fife-and-drum music, and jug bands. Dom was one of the founders of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, with whom he has played all over the world (including at the Library of Congress’s Coolidge Auditorium), and with whom he won a GRAMMY Award.  Dom has visited the AFC's research center many times, and is a passionate advocate for the materials we preserve in our unparalleled archive.  He has even blogged for AFC!  Dom was the first artist to play at the first Archive Challenge in February 2015.

Seth Kibel is the leader, clarinetist, and composer for The Alexandria Kleztet, the Washington area's premiere Klezmer ensemble.  He can also currently be seen with the Bay Jazz Project, swing and jump blues band The Natty Beaux, and Russian/Gypsy/Klezmer ensemble Music Pilgrim Trio. Seth has appeared with such notables as Sam Moore (Sam & Dave), Percy Sledge, The Coasters, and Johnnie Johnson. Seth was named "Best World Music Instrumentalist" by the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA) every year from 2003 through 2011. In 2012, he was bestowed the honor of "Emeritus" status in this category. In 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2011-14 he was also named "Best Jazz Instrumentalist."  In 2017, his song "New Waltz" took home the Grand Prize in the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest.

Cissa Paz is a Brazilian singer and songwriter who performs in Portuguese, Portuguese Creole, Spanish, French, and English. The diversity of her cultural experience merges with her taste for new combinations, as she creates and rearranges songs drawing on the rich traditions of Afro-Brazilian and Luso-African music. Cissa’s passion for music started with dance, and she studied ballet, jazz, modern dance, and the urban styles of samba and salsa. Her dance background is reflected in her music, giving most of her songs a rhythmic pulse that gets people on their feet. Cissa's sound was initially influenced by samba, afoxé, forro, maracatu and the popular music of Brazil. After moving to the U.S., she fell in love with RnB, Soul and Hip Hop, as well as music from Cape Verde and the Lusophone diaspora. 

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Eva Ybarra playing the accordion
Eva Ybarra
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Eva Ybarra, the "Queen of the Accordion," and Her Band

September 13, 2017, 12:00 PM
Coolidge Auditorium
Thomas Jefferson Building

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month
NEA Heritage fellow of 2017 (biography)

View the Webcast

Eva Ybarra, the "Queen of the Accordion," is one of ony a few professional women accordionists in conjunto music. As the leader of Eva Ybarra y Su Conjunto, Ybarra has specialized in writing and composing original conjunto music while also exploring non-standard chord progressions, advancing the art form’s evolution.

Conjunto originated in the late 19th century in working-class communities along Texas-Mexico border, and is distinct to that region. Using the accordion as the lead instrument, conjunto bands perform dance music based on Mexican and Czech-German folk forms such as the polka, mazurka, schottishe, waltz, and huapango.

Born on San Antonio's westside, Ybarra was one of nine children in a musical family. She took piano lessons on her mother’s encouragement while her father also urged her to take up the accordion at age four. She taught herself by listening to the radio, old LPs, and her older brother. "I started by listening to the radio, and I learnt by ear, copying what I heard. But I didn’t want to copy anyone, I wanted my own style," Ybarra told journalist Amanda Lozano in 2015. By age six, Ybarra’s parents were taking her to perform in venues around San Antonio.

When she was 14 years old, Ybarra was discovered while performing with her brother, Pedro, and received a record deal with Rosina Records in San Marcos, Texas. Since that first big break, she has performed and recorded many albums with her band, Eva Ybarra y Su Conjunto. In the 1990s, awareness of her stature in conjunto music grew with several notable recordings which showcased her original songs and virtuosity. Among these albums are 1993's A Mi San Antonio (For My San Antonio), and 1996's Romance Inolvidable (Unforgettable Romance), both released by Rounder Records.

Besides being a professional musician, Ybarra is also a music educator. In 1997, she was the artist-in-residence at the University of Washington, where she taught accordion, bajo sexto, and guitarron. She has been an accordion instructor at Palo Alto College’s (San Antonio) conjunto program. Currently, she fosters the development of other conjunto accordion players by teaching at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s music education program in San Antonio. In 2016, she participated as a master teaching artist in Texas Folklife’s Apprenticeship Program.

Ybarra is in the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center Conjunto Hall of Fame (San Antonio, inducted 2003), the Tejano R.O.O.T.S Hall of Fame (Alice, Texas, inducted 2008), the Univision Salon de Fama (San Antonio, inducted 2008), and the Tejano Conjunto Music Hall of Fame and Museum (San Benito, Texas, inducted 2009). In 2015 she received the South Texas Conjunto Association Lifetime Achievement Award. Bio written by Charlie Lockwood, Texas Folklife, and Anina Moore, Texas Commission on the Arts.

Ledward Kaapana: Master Slack Key Guitar Player from Hawaii

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Ledward Kaapana
Ledward Kaapana
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July 5, 2017 at noon
Coolidge Auditorium
Thomas Jefferson Building

View the concert webcast Running time 01:03:28

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

View the oral history Ledward Kalapana talks with John Fenn III. Running time 00:47:10

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

Ledward "Led" Kaapana is a master of the two leading string instruments in Hawaii: the Hawaiian ukulele and ki ho'alu, the slack key guitar, a fingerstyle guitar art form that originated in Hawaii. This talent, combined with his vocal skills in the baritone and leo ki`eki`e (falsetto) range, have made him a legendary performer who has been entertaining audiences in Hawaii and abroad for more than 40 years.  He was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2011.

Kaapana grew up in Kalapana in the southernmost district of Hawaii Island in a family of musicians. His teachers included his mother, Mama Tina Kaapana, from whom he learned to sing leo ki`eki`e, and his uncle, Fred Punahoa. "We didn't have electricity, not television, not even much radio," says Kaapana. "So we entertained ourselves. You could go to any house and everybody was playing music."

Over the course of his career, Kaapana has dedicated himself to perpetuating the traditional style and repertoire of his home village, beginning in his teens when Kaapana and his twin brother Nedward and cousin Dennis Pavao formed the musical group Hui Ohana. The group produced 14 best-selling albums, made hundreds of live appearances, and became a key figure in the resurgence of traditional Hawaiian culture and music during the 1970s.  Kaapana later formed the trio I Kona.  A prolific recording artist, Kaapana has earned 4 Grammy nominations in his own right and 2 wins on slack key compilation albums. 

Kaapana has worked with Nashville musicians Dolly Parton and Chet Atkins and collaborated with Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, and other bluegrass musicians for Waltz of the Wind. In addition, Kaapana has recorded with numerous renowned Hawaii musicians, including NEA National Heritage Fellows Aunty Genoa Keawe and the Ho'opi'i Brothers and Barney Isaacs.

This concert is part of a series celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the National Heritage Fellowships.  Awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Heritage Fellowships recognize the recipients' artistic excellence and support their continuing contributions to our nation's traditional arts heritage.  The NEA National Heritage Fellowships are considered our nation's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. 

BeauSoleil Quartet: Cajun Music from Louisiana

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Michael Doucet holding a fiddle
Michael Doucet
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June 28, 2017 at noon
Coolidge Auditorium
Thomas Jefferson Building

View the concert webcast Running time 01:13:46

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

View the oral history the band talks with Stephen Winick. Running time 00:55:50

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

Michael Doucet: fiddle, accordion, vocals; David Doucet: guitar, vocals; Mitchell Reed: fiddle, bass; Billy Ware: percussion

The lively and soulful music of Louisiana Cajuns descends from the songs and fiddle tunes of French-speakers who migrated from France to Canada in the 17th century, and from Canada to Louisiana in the 18th century. Cajun music blends those French and Acadian roots with elements other European, Native American, and African-American folk traditions, along with popular influences from country & western, blues, and pop. For four decades BeauSoleil have taken traditional ingredients—waltzes, two-steps, soulful Cajun French lyrics, hot fiddle licks, and irresistible accordion—and spiced them up with eclectic percussion, acoustic guitar in both finger-picked and flat-picked styles, and an open and creative attitude toward the music. BeauSoleil was the first Cajun band to win a Grammy Award, in 1998, and added a second in 2008. In 2011 they were inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

Beausoleil's particular flavor of Cajun music reflects the vision of bandleader Michael Doucet, a lifelong student of Cajun culture. Early in his career he studied with every Cajun master musician he could find, including fiddlers like Dewey Balfa, Dennis McGee, and Canray Fontenot. For his contributions to Cajun culture, Doucet was honored with a National Heritage Fellowship in 2005, the highest honor given to traditional artists in the United States. In awarding the fellowship, the National Endowment for the Arts called Doucet "perhaps the single most important figure in the revitalization of Cajun music in the United States." Joining Michael in the quartet are fiddler Mitch Reed, a master musician and instructor who has performed with all the great names in Cajun music since he was a teenager; Michael’s brother David Doucet, a soulful singer and an exceptional guitarist who is credited with making the acoustic guitar central to modern Cajun music; and Billy Ware, a versatile percussionist equally at home playing traditional rhythms on the Cajun triangle, or lending the two-steps a Latin groove with congas. Together, these musicians have performed all over the globe, and represented Cajun music in popular media like HBO's Treme and NPR's A Prairie Home Companion, whose former host Garrison Keillor calls BeauSoleil "the best Cajun band in the world."

This concert is part of Homegrown 2017’s celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the NEA’s National Heritage Fellowships. 

Cambodian-American Heritage Dancers with Chum Ngek Ensemble

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Two photos, one of a woman dancing and another of a man playing a roneat (a hammered instrument).
Chum Ngek Ensemble
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May 25, 2017 at noon
Coolidge Auditorium
Thomas Jefferson Building

View the webcast Running Time 01:15:32

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

View the oral history with the performers Running Time 00:38:32

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

The Cambodian-American Heritage Dancers and Chum Ngek Ensemble present a program of classical Khmer dance and music from the Cambodian court repertoire.  This classical art is associated with the Angkor Empire (802-1432), a time when Cambodia was large and powerful. In traditional Cambodia, music and dance were always respected as offerings to gods, ancestors, and teachers. They could also connect the human world with the supernatural world.  Since the fifteenth century, Cambodia has shrunk in size and has become poor as a result of centuries of invasion, colonization, war, and political upheaval, but these art forms preserve the learning of a more peaceful and prosperous time.  Cambodian-American Heritage, Inc. (CAHI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Cambodian arts and culture here in the United States through its dance troupe and music ensemble. 

Principal musician Chum Ngek is one of the few living Khmer music masters worldwide who possess a vast repertoire and command of multiple instruments across various genres. He is a longtime teacher of Cambodian musical arts, and is the 2004 recipient of the Bess Lomax Hawes Award, the NEA National Heritage Fellowship conferred upon an artist who has significantly benefited his or her tradition through teaching and preserving important repertoires. Chum has also received honors from The Maryland State Arts Council. He also teaches at the Cambodian Buddhist Society, Inc. in Silver Spring. 

Principal dancer Sam Oeun Tes was trained in classical court dance at the Royal Ballet of Cambodia from Cambodia’s top dance masters. She performed for many guests of state before migrating to the United States in 1971. Since the early 1980’s, Sam Oeun has been the principal teacher and dancer of the Cambodian American Heritage Dance Troupe. She has also performed and conducted dance workshops in many colleges and universities on the East Coast. She regularly leads her troupe in both local and national performances at venues such as the Smithsonian, the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, the White House, and a host of other federal agencies and festivals. She has performed throughout the world in countries such as Egypt, South Africa, Turkey, and Taiwan. In 1998, Sam Oeun was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Jayme Stone’s Folklife

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Four people sitting on a bench under a wall display of stringed instruments.
Jayme Stone and band. Photo by, Alexandra Defurio.
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May 4, 2017 at noon
Coolidge Auditorium
Thomas Jefferson Building

View the webcast Running time 01:13:11

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

View "Open Mic with Jayme Stone and Todd Harvey" Running time 00:47:17

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

Two-time Juno-winning banjoist, composer and instigator Jayme Stone makes music inspired by sounds from around the world—bridging folk, jazz and chamber music. His award-winning albums both defy and honor the banjo’s long role in the world’s music, turning historical connections into compelling sounds. In 2015, he issued Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project (2015), focusing on songs collected by folklorist and field recording pioneer Alan Lomax, whose collections reside at the American Folklife Center. Stone brought together distinctive and creative roots musicians to revive, recycle and reimagine traditional music. The repertoire includes Bahamian sea shanties, Sea Island spirituals, Appalachian ballads, fiddle tunes and work songs collected from both well-known musicians and everyday folk: sea captains, cowhands, fishermen, prisoners and homemakers. His next project, Jayme Stone’s Folklife (2017) takes a similar tack with more great traditional music.

See also: Open Mike: Jayme Stone and Todd Harvey, Curator of the Alan Lomax Collection, May 4, 2016 (webcast forthcoming)

Sheila Kay Adams: Musician and Storyteller from North Carolina

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Sheila Kay Adams holding a banjo
Sheila Kay Adams, photo credit Garrius Hill
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April 19, 2017 at noon
Whittall Pavilion, Ground floor
Thomas Jefferson Building

View the concert webcast Running time 00:41:14

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

View the interview with Stephen Winick. Running time 01:06:36

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

A seventh-generation ballad singer, storyteller, and musician, Sheila Kay Adams was born and raised in the Sodom Laurel community of Madison County, North Carolina, an area renowned for its unbroken tradition of unaccompanied ballad singing that dates back to the early Scots/Irish and English settlers in the mid-17th century. Adams learned to sing from her great-aunt Dellie Chandler Norton and other notable singers in the community, such as Dillard Chandler and the Wallin family (including NEA National Heritage Fellow Doug Wallin). In addition to ballad singing, Adams is an accomplished clawhammer-style banjo player and storyteller. Adams began performing in public in her teens, and throughout her career she has performed at festivals, events, music camps, and workshops, around the country and the United Kingdom, including the acclaimed International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and the 1976 and 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival as part of The Bicentennial Celebration and Appalachia: Heritage and Harmony.

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Sheila Kay Adams sitting by a river.
Sheila Kay Adams.
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Adams is the author of two books: Come Go Home With Me, a collection of stories published by the University of North Carolina Press and a 1997 winner of the North Carolina Historical Society's award for historical fiction; and My Old True Love, a novel published by Algonquin Books in 2004. She has recorded several albums of ballads, songs, and stories including My Dearest Dear (2000), All the Other Fine Things (2004), and Live at the International Stroytelling Festival (2007). Adams appeared in the movies Last of the Mohicans (1992) and Songcatcher (2000), a movie for which she also served as technical advisor and singing coach.

Adams' devotion to preserving and perpetuating her heritage earned her the North Carolina Folklore Society's Brown-Hudson Award in recognition of her valuable contributions to the study of North Carolina folklore. In a letter in support of her nomination, George Holt, director of performing arts and film studies at the North Carolina Museum of Art wrote, "Sheila Kay Adams is the key figure in carrying forward to this day the tradition of unaccompanied ballad singing that has enriched her community for more than two centuries, promoting its beauty throughout our country and beyond, and insuring that it will be perpetuated by younger generations of singers well into the 21st century."

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A young man dances on the street as othrs look on.
Urban Artistry
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Dance Battle with Urban Artistry

February 22, 2017
Coolidge Auditorium
Thomas Jefferson Building

View the Webcast Running Time 1:16:07

Also on Library of Congress YouTube

Read article in Folklife Today by Michelle Stephano that includes an interview with instructor Junious Brickhouse

Urban Artistry, Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in Silver Spring, Maryland, dedicated to research, documentation, teaching, and safeguarding of urban musical and dance traditions of the DC region and beyond, as well as their respective communities. It was founded in 2005 by accomplished performing artist, historian, and educator Junious Brickhouse.

Through Urban Artistry's classes in locking, breakin', Memphis jookin', and poppin', as part of urban dance culture, including their musical roots, students not only learn the dance forms, but gain deep insight into their histories and meanings as shaped in the neighborhoods and longtime clubs found in cities and suburbs across the U.S. and around the world. Brickhouse notes that Urban Artistry’s performing artists, from beginner to expert, "serve as cultural ambassadors for communities that are often unsung." Through their well-known educational programs, such as Funk in FocusThe House That Jack BuiltMainline, and Methods, as well as the International Soul Society Festival and theater productions, they seek to amplify a whole range of traditional music and dance forms as art. They also aim to safeguard senses of cultural exchange, togetherness, and place that keep such forms vitalized for the future.

As part of the AFC’s Homegrown concert series, awe-inspiring Urban Artistry artists will share the rich traditions of their cultural communities in a series of dance battles, set to the beats of DJ Baronhawk Poitier, with Brickhouse as the event’s emcee. Dance battles are a common feature of many urban dance traditions as not just a means of celebrating individual talent, but of promoting cultural exchange and keeping the diverse forms of urban musical and dance expression alive.

Junious Brickhouse, founder and director of Urban Artistry Inc., hails from Virginia Beach, where he learned social dance traditions from family members, developing his talents against a backdrop of 1970s funk and R&B. He feels that this period marks when his commitment to “dance and community service” emerged as a guiding life force. Over time, he has remained committed to the hip hop, house dance, b-boying, popping, locking, tap, waacking, vogue, and West African dance genres and their communities of practice. These early experiences are reflected in how Brickhouse has structured Urban Artistry as an accepting, collaborative, and accessible community, and in his lifelong commitment to share urban dance culture with underserved communities from Southeast DC’s Ward 7 to South Africa and Finland. His work is internationally known and he is recognized as a master in urban dance history and tradition by the folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council, Maryland Traditions, through which he has also worked to pass on his knowledge and skills to younger generations.

 

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