Top of page

Film, Video Since 1968: The Center for Traditional Music & Dance and Appalshop

Transcript: TEXT

About this Item


  • Since 1968: The Center for Traditional Music & Dance and Appalshop


  • A symposium exploring the themes of cultural work, geography, and community as manifested in the history of three organizations that emerged from the social, political and cultural transformations that reshaped national and global society in 1968: the Center for Traditional Music and Dance, Appalshop and the Drum and Spear Bookstore. Panel one: Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, the Center for Traditional Music and Dance's programs and documentation celebrate the wealth of cultural heritage found in New York's immigrant communities. Appalshop is looking toward its 50th year (in 2019) of presenting the cultures and experiences of Appalachian communities as counter-narratives that combat the surrounding the region. Founders and current staff members will reflect on the unique history of each organization and discuss questions in common about the role of cultural documentation, heritage vitality, and plurality of experiences across rural and urban spaces.

Event Date

  • September 24, 2018


  • -  Herb E. Smith is a co-founder of Appalshop, the internationally known arts and education center located in Whitesburg, Kentucky. He believes in the importance of place and seeing what can be done by staying in one place for a long time. Since 1969, when he was a high school student, Smith has played an active role in Appalshop, and continues to make films in the area where he was raised. His documentaries explore cultural, social and economic issues of the Appalachian region. His latest film, entitled "Our Kentucky River," follows the Commonwealth's namesake river from its headwaters in the mountains of eastern Kentucky through the capital of Frankfort to the watershed¿¿¿s confluence with the Ohio River at Carrollton. The 250-mile journey provides a unique look at the historical significance of the watershed and the current problems it faces, as well as the roles the river plays in the lives of Kentuckians. Other films by Smith include "The Ralph Stanley Story," and "Thoughts in the Presence of Fear," based on an essay by Kentucky writer Wendell Berry. His documentaries have been shown throughout the country -- from community centers and union halls to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. -- and around the world.
  • -  Peter Rushefsky is a klezmer musician and executive director of New York City's Center for Traditional Music and Dance, a leading folk/traditional arts organization based in New York City. CTMD assists the city's ethnic and immigrant communities in maintaining their traditions and cultural heritage. CTMD has developed a range of programs that emphasize research, documentation, collaboration, presentation and education to help advance its mission of cultural equity. Rushefsky has served as CTMD's Executive Director since 2006 following a successful career as a non-profit health care executive. He continues to perform and record internationally with violinist Itzhak Perlman, the renowned Klezmer Conservatory Band and NEA National Heritage Fellows Andy Statman and Michael Alpert among others. He has been featured at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Hollywood Bowl, and performed on the air for NPR's Prairie Home Companion, All Things Considered and PBS's Great Performances. Rushefsky curated the Yiddish performing arts program for the Smithsonian Institution's 2013 Folklife Festival on the National Mall, helped to found the annual Yiddish New York festival and has taught and organized numerous Yiddish folk arts workshops internationally. A graduate of Cornell University and the University of Michigan, Rushefsky has written a number of published articles and other writings on traditional performing arts.
  • -  Ethel Raim is co-founder and artistic director emerita of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance. She has been a national leader in revitalizing diverse ethnic traditions and awakening Americans to a broader appreciation of our traditional music and dance heritage for more than a half century. From her early work in the 1970s researching and presenting immigrant traditions with co-director Martin Koenig at the Slavic and Balkan Cultures Program at the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife and then at New York City's Balkan Arts Center (now known as the Center for Traditional Music and Dance), she pioneered approaches for presenting traditional artists in familiar settings like cafes, beer gardens and dance halls. Under her guidance, the Center for Traditional Music and Dance carried out field research and programming about a remarkable variety of ethnic traditions, including those of Americans of Caribbean, South American, African, Balkan, Irish, Slavic, Jewish, Latin American, Mediterranean and Asian heritage. Extending CTMD's work beyond research, recordings, films, archiving and concert programming, Raim created the Community Cultural Initiatives. These programs collaborate with a number of ethnic communities to develop infrastructure necessary to sustain the traditions of community partners on their own terms. The outcomes of CCIs include the creation of a number of self-sustaining cultural organizations, including, among others, Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture Without Borders, Mariachi Academy of New York and establishment of the annual Festival Shqiptar within New York's Albanian community. A tireless advocate for cultural equity, Raim was a driving force in creating the Folk Arts Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, which now supports more than 70 cultural organizations throughout the state to document, present and sustain their traditions. The National Endowment for the Arts recognized Raim's seminal contributions with a 2018 National Heritage Fellowship, a lifetime achievement award that recognizes artistic excellence and continuing contributions to the nation's traditional arts heritage.
  • -  Martin Koenig founded New York's Balkan Arts Center in 1968 and together with Ethel Raim, guided its transformation into first, the Ethnic Folk Arts Center and then, the Center for Traditional Music. Together they were were co-artistic and executive directors of CTMD, until Koenig's retirement in 1994. Koenig has recorded, filmed and photographed music and dance in Balkan villages and in urban immigrant communities in the United States since 1966. He has taught Balkan dance for the past 30 years throughout the United States, Canada and Western Europe. In the last few years he has been working to exhibit and publish his unique and extensive collection of images stored in files and boxes wedged into every available space in his home and office. Reconnecting with the areas in southeast Europe where he previously worked, he revisited Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Serbia in 2005, and in 2006 was invited to stage a one-person photography exhibit at the Bulgarian National Gallery in Sofia. That exhibit, as well as other Balkan photographs have subsequently traveled to New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Montreal and Toronto. A 96-page hardcover book with accompanying music CD and photo cards were published from this exhibit: "Voices & Images From Bulgaria, 1966-1979." In spring of 2015 he produced a music CD that he recorded in the 1960s and 1970s: "Playing 'Til Your Soul Comes Out! Music of Macedonia." The recording is issued by Smithsonian Folkways and serves as a sonic time capsule of musical life in 1960s Macedonia, untapped in previous recordings.
  • -  Alexander Gibson serves as executive director of Appalshop, a multimedia arts organization located in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Before joining Appalshop, Gibson practiced law within the torts, insurance and business litigation practice groups at Stites & Harbison PLLC in Louisville, Kentucky, and in the business litigation group at Ballard, Spahr, Andrews and Ingersol in Philadelphia. Before entering private practice, Gibson served as a federal law clerk for Thomas W. Phillips, U.S. District Judge for the eastern district of Tennessee, where he assisted in the resolution of multi-million dollar law suits, federal criminal trials and critical questions of constitutional law; particularly, those issues that implicate the First Amendment. Prior to his clerkship and while attending law school, Gibson provided pro bono legal services to asylum seekers from central and west Africa, conducted tax workshops in west Philadelphia and was part of a delegation that went to serve Mombasa, Kenya, in order to teach constitutional law to women's rights groups in the wake of Kenyan constitutional reform. Gibson graduated from Berea College in 2008 with a B.A. in philosophy and earned his J.D., Doctor of Laws, from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2012. He also holds certificates in international comparative law from Queen Mary at the University of London, England, and in Thai and Southeast Asian Studies from Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Running Time

  • 1 hours 35 minutes 34 seconds

Online Format

  • video
  • image
  • online text

Rights & Access

While the Library of Congress created most of the videos in this collection, they include copyrighted materials that the Library has permission from rightsholders to present.  Rights assessment is your responsibility.  The written permission of the copyright owners in materials not in the public domain is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. There may also be content that is protected under the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations.  Permissions may additionally be required from holders of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights). Whenever possible, we provide information that we have about copyright owners and related matters in the catalog records, finding aids and other texts that accompany collections. However, the information we have may not be accurate or complete.

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.

Credit Line: Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Since: The Center for Traditional Music & Dance and Appalshop. 2018. Video.

APA citation style:

(2018) Since: The Center for Traditional Music & Dance and Appalshop. [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Since: The Center for Traditional Music & Dance and Appalshop. 2018. Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.