Union to host Appalachian folk musicians Perlman and Taylor

Published on
March 09, 2017

Music from the Appalachian MountainsUnion College is hosting folk musicians Ken Perlman and Bobby Taylor for “Music from the Appalachian Mountains” on Monday, March 20 at 7 pm. This free event will be held in Union’s Rector Little Theatre.

Perlman and Taylor will take the stage focusing on Appalachian folk music, but will interlace their performance with Canadian maritime music as well as other seafaring shanties to tell the tale of immigrants making their way from Europe into Appalachia.

“Ken Perlman is not only a musician but a noted scholar who has conducted interviews and research on Prince Edward Island,” said Dr. Hugo Freund, Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences, whose department is helping to sponsor the event. “This will be a wonderful opportunity to explore the origins of music within our region.”

Perlman is a pioneer of the 5-string banjo style known as melodic clawhammer; he is considered one of the top clawhammer players in the world, known in particular for his skillful adaptations of Celtic, Appalachian, & Canadian fiddle tunes to the style. He has toured throughout most of the English-speaking world and in Western-Europe, both as a soloist and – for over fifteen years – in a duo with renowned Appalachian-style fiddler Alan Jabbour. An acclaimed teacher of folk-music instrumental skills, Ken has written some of the most widely respected banjo and guitar instruction books of modern times, he has been on staff at prestigious teaching festivals around the world, and he has also served as director for several music-instructional “camps.” Also an independent folklorist, Ken spent close to two decades collecting tunes and oral histories from traditional fiddle players on Prince Edward Island in Eastern Canada, resulting in three major works.

Bobby Taylor is a fourth generation West Virginia fiddler. He plays several styles of old-time and contest fiddling, but got his start from the legendary fiddler Clark Kessinger, who is considered one of the fathers of bluegrass fiddling. Bobby was the 1977 West Virginia State Open Fiddle Champion. In 2003, Bobby received the Footbridge Award from FOOTMAD (Friends of Old-Time Music and Dance) for his contributions to old-time music. In 2010, he was presented the Vandalia Award - West Virginia’s highest folk-life honor - by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Bobby has been the coordinator of West Virginia's Vandalia Gathering contests in Charleston, WV since 1979. He was the contest coordinator of the Appalachian Open Contest from 1984 through 1987, and for many years he has served as the contest coordinator at the Appalachian String Band Music Festival. He currently presents historical showcases on fiddle styles with his old-time band “Kanawha Tradition.”

“Music from the Appalachian Mountains” featuring Perlman and Taylor will begin at 7 pm in the Rector Little Theatre. The event is being sponsored by David Johns and the Office of Academic Affairs, the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, The Appalachian Studies Minor and the Cultural Events Committee at Union College.