March 16, 2005 American Folklife Center Announces 2005 "Homegrown" Concert Series

Liz Carroll and John Doyle to Open Series on April 21

Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: American Folklife Center (202) 707-5510
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The American Folklife Center’s annual concert series, “Homegrown 2005: The Music of America,” opens with a noontime concert on April 21 in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. Homegrown concerts are produced by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in cooperation with the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and recorded so that they can be added to the center’s permanent collections of folk music.

This inaugural concert features the Irish American fiddle player and composer Liz Carroll from Illinois, who will be accompanied by Irish guitarist John Doyle, best known for his work with the group Solas. The concert is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

Liz Carroll is considered to be one of the greatest Irish fiddlers playing today. Born in Chicago of Irish immigrant parents, she astounded the Irish music world in 1975 when she won the senior All-Ireland fiddling championship at the age of 18. In a genre noted for its virtuosic musicians, she is widely admired for her diverse repertoire, her original compositions and her unique and carefully crafted playing style.

Carroll has recorded numerous albums and performed all over the United States and Europe. She was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1994 for her contributions to traditional Irish music in America.

John Doyle, originally from Dublin, spent several years with the group Solas and is now one of the most sought-after accompanists in Irish music. Also an accomplished singer, Doyle currently lives in Asheville, N.C.

The Homegrown concert series presents the very best of traditional music and dance from a variety of folk cultures thriving in the United States. The concerts will be held once a month from April through December. All concerts are free of charge and are presented from noon to 1 p.m. The closest Metro stops are Capitol South (blue and orange lines) and Union Station (red line).

“The Homegrown concerts are providing the American Folklife Center with outstanding documentation of the very best of traditional music and dance in America. We are well on our way to having all 50 states represented in this multicultural musical collection.”

The complete schedule for the Homegrown concert series for 2005 is below.


April 21 - Liz Carroll with John Doyle, Irish American fiddling from Illinois

May 18 - Chu Shan Chinese Opera Institute from Maryland

The Chu Shan Chinese Opera Institute was founded in 1991 by Zhu Chu Shan, a Chinese opera director, and Judy Huang, an actress, to provide skilled leadership in directing, acting, teaching and presenting Chinese opera in the Baltimore-Washington area. They have staged performances of all sizes and trained students of all ages, in both large and small groups, in the arts of Chinese opera. More than just a musical style, Chinese Opera is a performance system whose ancient origins have been tempered by 5,000 years of development. The discipline demands several skills from performers. The basic elements are summed up by the phrase chang, zuo, nian da—singing, acting, reciting and martial arts fighting. Actors’ movements are guided by the predominant aesthetic principle of xieyi, or literally, “freehand brushstroke,” a metaphor borrowed from traditional Chinese painting that refers to the highly stylized, symbolic representation of action on the operatic stage.

June 21 - Margaret MacArthur, ballads and songs from Vermont

Since settling in Vermont in 1948, Margaret MacArthur has traveled through the state and throughout northern New England, recording old songs that have been passed down through generations and giving them new life through her own performances. A singer and serious scholar and collector of the traditional songs of New England, MacArthur has been honored by both the state of Vermont and the New England Council on the Arts for her role in preserving the traditional arts of the region.

July 20 - D.W. Groethe, cowboy songs and poetry from Montana

D.W. Groethe is a working cowboy who writes and sings about the everyday life of a rancher on the northern Great Plains. The descendant of Norwegian immigrants who homesteaded in Williams County, N.D., he draws on the long-standing and vigorous traditions of cowboy songs and poetry, which continue to thrive in the American West.

Aug. 17 - Benton Flippen and the Smokey Valley Boys, old-time music from North Carolina

Benton Flippen, one of the icons of old-time fiddling in America, was raised in a musical family in Surry County, N.C. Born in 1920, Flippen comes from a generation of great players at the epicenter of Southern mountain music. Among his contemporaries were Tommy Jarrell, Fred Cockerham, Kyle Creed and Earnest East, musicians who have influenced countless students of old-time music. Flippen has been similarly influential, and he received the 1990 North Carolina Folk Heritage Award for being the innovator of a distinctive style of old-time string music. He has served as a mentor for several musicians, notably National Public Radio newscaster, music producer and banjo player Paul Brown, who will be playing with Flippen at this concert. Flippen is still an active musician, playing at fiddle contests and square dances throughout his home region. The Smokey Valley Boys consists of Paul Brown on banjo, Verlen Clifton on mandolin and Frank Bodie on guitar.

Sept. 20 - 2005 NEA National Heritage Fellow, To Be Announced

Oct. 12 - Negrura Peruana, Afro-Peruvian music and dance from Connecticut

Negrura Peruana performs the music and dance of Peru’s African and criollo population from the coastal region south of Lima, the nation’s capital. Group members emigrated from Lima to the Hartford area of Connecticut about 10 years ago and formed Negrura Peruana in 2002. They learned their music, dances and songs in their neighborhoods in Peru, where music was an important part of celebrations, gatherings and informal competitions. Since its founding, Negrura Peruana has become a popular attraction at events held by the growing Peruvian community in Connecticut.

Nov. 16 - Dineh Tah Navajo Dancers

Founded in 1993, the Dineh Tah Navajo Dancers promote the understanding of the rich cultural traditions of the Navajo “Dineh” people. Their performances include dances and songs such as the Corn Grinding Act, the Basket Dance, the Bow and Arrow Dance and the Social Song and Dance. The group is made up of young dancers from throughout the Four Corners region of the Southwest that comprises the Navajo nation. This program is cosponsored by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Dec. 7 - Birmingham Sunlights, African American gospel quartet from Alabama

The Birmingham Sunlights are dedicated to carrying on the art of unaccompanied gospel harmony singing that has an especially strong heritage in their home, Jefferson County, Ala. Formed in 1979 by music director James Alex Taylor, the quartet originally included James’ brothers Steve and Barry, Ricky Speights and Wayne Williams. Williams has since been replaced by Bill Graves. The Sunlights learned songs traditional of the area from an older quartet, the Sterling Jubilees, and have since appeared at numerous festivals across the nation, performed in France as ambassadors of Alabama traditional culture, toured five countries in Africa and performed extensively in the Caribbean and Australia under the auspices of the U.S. State Department.

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to “preserve and present American folklife” through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in the Library in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world. For more information about the American Folklife Center, visit the Web site at

Part of the Kennedy Center’s Performing Arts for Everyone initiative, the Millennium Stage helps fulfill the center’s mission to make performing arts widely accessible. The Millennium Stage introduces the performing arts to the local community and to millions of people who visit the center each year. These free, 6 p.m. performances are offered 365 days a year. For more information, visit the Kennedy Center Web site at

Established in 1989 by Congress, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is an institution of living cultures dedicated to the life, languages, literature, history and arts of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. The museum includes the George Gustav Heye Center, a permanent exhibition and education facility in New York City, the Cultural Resources Center, a research and collections facility in Suitland, Md., and the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. For more information visit the museum’s Web site at


PR 05-045
ISSN 0731-3527