Scots and Ulster Scots have emigrated in such numbers that no other European nation has ever lost such a high proportion of its people. In the early days, these were men and women who left behind them a homeland rich in the oral tradition of song and ballad singing, an inheritance which they carried with them wherever they went. Their legacy is apparent to this day.
Join musicians Sara Grey and Kieron Means at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park on June 11 as they take to the stage at 8 p.m. at the Wilderness Road Campground amphitheater to perform many of these songs and share with the audience stories of how these tunes influenced the music of Appalachia.
The duo’s repertoire will include songs and ballads whose tunes and words have remained unchanged throughout the years to compositions which have radically changed but still remain recognizable. “This renowned mother/son team will expect all to enthusiastically chime in on choruses and refrains,” exclaims Park Ranger Lucas Wilder.
Sara Grey first heard mountain music as a youngster growing up in North Carolina; her love for the old time banjo music and songs developed from this experience. She has carried this interest into her adult life studying folklore and collecting and performing music from the various areas in which she has lived. During many of her songs, Sara accompanies herself by picking a five string banjo and, when playing tunes, it is obvious why she is regarded as one of the foremost exponents of the old-time style.
Though born in the United States, Kieron Means grew up in Britain, gaining a great love of the music of both traditions as well as the contemporary scene. He has become a performer of traditional songs from the United States and from the United Kingdom and has written many of the contemporary songs which he sings.
The Wilderness Road Campground is located in Virginia, two miles east of the Hwy. 25E and Hwy. 58 intersection. Visitors should proceed to the amphitheater, located at the end of loop C where parking is available. In case of rain, the program will be held at the national park visitor center, located on Hwy 25E, just south of Middlesboro.
This event is made possible by generous funding and support from the Friends of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park www.friendsofcumberlandgap.org or www.facebook.com/friendsofcumberlandgap and park partner Eastern National www.easternnational.org. For more information about Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, call 606-248-2817 or visit www.nps.gov/cuga.