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Kentucky Folklife Program - News

KFP and Department of Folk Studies Announce Fall 2014 Pioneer Cabin Concert

August 29, 2014

Lauren and friends

The Kentucky Folklife Program and the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology announce this fall's Pioneer Cabin Concert. In continuation of our efforts to promote the work of traditional Kentucky artists and performers, we are pleased to welcome local neo-soul singer Lauren Cunningham on Sunday, September 28th, at 4 p.m.

Cunningham's stripped-down, feel-good performances combine gospel, soul, blues and jazz with her passion for social and political advocacy. She will be joined in this performance by friends J. Michael Meece (guitar) and Bobby Payne (percussion).

Cunningham currently works as the community engagement coordinator for WKU's ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships. For more information about Cunningham and her music, visit her Facebook page.

The Pioneer Cabin Concert Series is an ongoing series that provides a venue for the university and Bowling Green community to enjoy traditional and roots music in the intimate setting of the Pioneer Cabin on campus.

Tickets are $10 and can be reserved in advance by contacting the Folk Studies office at (270) 745-5295. Seating in the cabin is limited to 30 people.

This performance will be filmed by WKU's PBS affiliate, WKYU.


The Homer Ledford Award 

August 5, 2014

This year the Kentucky Folklife Program at Western Kentucky University is joining with the Appalachian Center at Berea College to present the Homer Ledford Award at the Annual Celebration of Traditional Music in Berea on October 17th, 2014.

Homer Ledford

Since 2007, the Homer Ledford Award has been given to Kentucky luthiers who have demonstrated outstanding craftsmanship, mastery of making and setting up instruments for excellent tone and playability, and have been recognized by the communities of musicians they serve.

This award is given in honor and memory of master luthier, musician, and educator Homer Ledford. Known for his superb craftsmanship, impressive productivity, inspired innovations, generous spirit and willingness to teach anyone interested in his art, Homer had a profound impact on musical communities throughout Kentucky and far beyond. Many luthiers and musicians have fond memories of visiting his basement shop in Winchester, KY, where he immersed himself in his work while sharing techniques, wisdom and stories behind the rich cultural heritage he represented. Ledford's legacy lives on among the current generation of musical craftspeople he inspired, and this award symbolizes that legacy.

"Homer was an inspiration to countless traditional musicians and instrument makers. " shared Brent Bjorkman, Director of The Kentucky Folklife Program based at Western Kentucky University, "Berea College was the place where Homer and his wife Colista first met as students and began to develop so many of their deep friendships that have lasted over more than 60 years. The Annual Celebration of Traditional Music weekend will be the perfect place to present this award."

Past Homer Ledford Awardees include Warren May of Berea, Art Mize of Lexington and Donna Lamb of Lancaster.

The Kentucky Folklife Program will be coordinating the award process. If you know of an inspiring Kentucky instrument maker and would like to submit their name as a nominee please visit the KFP website. For further details about the submission process contact Brent Bjorkman, Director of the Kentucky Folklife Program:

Deadline for submissions is September 8th, 2014

Click here for the nomination form



KFP and the Dept. of Folk Studies and Anthropology Announce the Spring 2014 Pioneer Cabin Concert

March 13, 2014

Missy Raines and the New Hip posterWe are pleased to announce that the Spring 2014 Cabin Concert will feature Missy Raines and The New Hip

This intimate concert will take place Sunday, March 30th at 4pm in the Pioneer Log Cabin on the WKU campus.

With a smokey and seductive alto, 7 Time IBMA Bass Player of the Year, Missy Raines, heads up this quartet with cool grooves, both layered and lush. Accompanied by Ethan Ballinger, Jarrod Walker and Cody Martin on electric guitar, mandolin, and drums, respectively, The New Hip launches off the bluegrass dock and into the waters of Americana and jazz with a distinct indie-dreampop flavour. New Frontier, their latest album on Compass Records, features Raines' vocals throughout and has lauded her comparisons to Lucinda Williams and Rosanne Cash.

Read the full press release...

Cabin Concert information....

Missy Raines and The New Hip website...


KFP Begins Work on Traveling Exhibit

March 3, 2014

Thanks to an recent NEA Artworks grant, the KFP has started work on a traveling exhibit panel series featuring the White Oak Basketmaking tradition inNEA Art Works logo Central Kentucky.

Read our full blog post...



KFP and the Dept. of Folk Studies and Anthropology Announce the Fall 2013 Pioneer Cabin Concert

Wade concert poster

November 14, 2013

In continuing with our recent Pioneer Cabin Concert Series theme, focusing on folklorists, ethnomusicologists, and folk musicians with scholarship at the heart of their work, we are pleased to welcome acclaimed author, folk musician and 2013 Grammy nominee, Stephen Wade.

This intimate concert will take place Sunday, November 24th at 2pm in the Pioneer Log Cabin on the WKU campus.

Read the full press release...

Cabin Concert information....



Kentucky Basketmakers featured in exhibit at 

Leona and Scott's baskets at the Renwick Gallery

Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery

October 4, 2013

Two Kentucky white oak basketmakers, Leona Waddell and Scott Gilbert, will both have baskets featured in the upcoming exhibit, A Measure of the Earth: The Cole-Ware Collection of American Baskets at the Smithsonian Renwick Gallery.  

Visit the Renwick Gallery website for more information and to view photos of the baskets...


KFP to Present Local Tradition Bearers at the Horse Cave Heritage Festival

September 20, 2013

HCHF Foodways stage 2012

The Kentucky Folklife Program and Folk Studies graduate students will be presenting a wide range of folk artists and local tradition bearers at the Horse Cave Heritage Festival on Saturday, Sept. 21, beginning at 11 a.m. at the Horse Cave Heritage Festival.

Read the full Press Release at the WKU News Page...

Visit the Horse Cave website for festival information...

Read about KFP at last year's Horse Cave Heritage Festival...


KFP Director to Present Kentucky Artists at Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center 

August 5, 2013

Northern Kentucky Brotherhood in DC 2009

Brent Björkman will present the Covington-based a cappella gospel group, the Northern Kentucky Brotherhood, at two special performances in Washington DC on Wednesday August 7th. At noon Björkman will present the group at the Library of Congress as part of their Homegrown Concert Series and at 7 pm at the Kennedy Center's Millenium Stage.

Between the performances Bjorkman will be interviewing Jennings and the other members of group about their lives in gospel music.

Visit the LOC's Home Grown Concert Series website...

Read more at the WKU News page...


Allen County Community Scholars Training Announced

June 28, 2013

The Kentucky Arts Council is working in partnership with the Kentucky Folklife Program and the Allen County Folklife and Oral History Project to offer a six-week Community Scholars Program in Allen County!

This hands-on training is an exciting next step in the Allen County Folklife and Oral History Project that will give community members the opportunity to work on their own projects and further document, preserve and celebrate life and community culture in Allen County.

There will be an introductory meeting and orientation from 6-8 p.m. CDT Wednesday, July 10, at the Community Action of Southern Kentucky in Scottsville.

Read the full press release... 

Folklife Photo Exhibit opens at Kentucky Museum

Eldo Todd with Grandsons

June 5, 2013

The exhibit, "Documenting Tradition: Images from the Kentucky Folklife Program Archives," will be on display at WKU's Kentucky Museum June 1 through October 19. The photos in this exhibit were selected by Kentucky Museum staff from the extensive collection of photos in the recently transfered Kentucky Folklife Program Archives.

Read about the exhibit in the Kentucky Museum blog...

Learn more about the KFP Archives...


American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress Announces Archie Green Fellowships

May 3, 2013

American Folklife Center Logo

Kentucky Folklife Program Director Brent Björkman and Traditional Arts Indiana Director Jon Kay have received a 2013 Archie Green Fellowship for Research in Occupational Folklore from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Read the American Folklife Center Announcement... 

Full WKU Press Release...


Artisan Ancestors Podcast

Episode 35: The Kentucky Folklife Program

February 25,  2013

The Kentucky Folklife Program Director Brent Bjorkman was interviewed by Jon Kay for a recent episode his podcast "Aritsan Ancestors: Researching Creative Lives and Handmade Things."  Kay and Bjorkman discuss Bjorkman's vision for KFP and his research with white oak basket makers in Kentucky.

Listen to the full podcast...


Spring 2013 Cabin Concert Series

Cabin Concert Series Poster

February 1, 2013

Kentucky Folklife Program and the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology is proud to present the Spring 2013 Cabin Concert Series.  This Series will feature eminent academic folklorists and old-time musicians Alan Jabbour and Tom Carter.  

Wednesday February 27th at 7pm:  Carter will be joined by fiddler and singer, Tom Sauber to perform old-time fiddle and banjo music.

Sunday March 3rd at 3pm: Jabbour will perform in fiddle-banjo duet with consummate banjo player, Ken Perlman.

Full Press Release and artist information...

Cabin Concert information....


 2012 American Folklore Society Election Results

January 30, 2013

WKU Folk Studies and Anthropology Department Head, Dr. Michael Ann Williams has been named the President-Elect of the American Folklore Society.   KFP's own Brent Björkman has been elected to the American Folklore Society Executive Board.

Congratulations to Dr. Michael Ann Williams and Brent Björkman!

Read the American Folklore Society announcement...


Kentucky Folklife Program Archive comes to the Kentucky Museum

October 29, 2012: Press Release

Kentucky Folklife Program is pleased to announce the merging of the archives of the Kentucky Folklife Program with the existing WKU Folklife Archives on October 29-30th, 2012.

Read the full Press Release...

Read the blog post by Project Archivist, Heather Stone on KHS History Burgoo...


Leona Waddell Receives the Govenor's Folk Heritage Award

October 9, 2012

white oak basket made by Leona Waddell

White oak basketmaker, Leona Waddell has been named as the recipient of the the 2012 Govener's Award in the Arts Folk Heritage Award and was honored at a public ceremony in Frankfort on October 9, 2012.   

Read the full article in The News Enterprise...

Watch The Makings of a Master video of Leona...

Watch the 2012 Governor's Award video tribute...


KFP Director, Brent Björkman interviewed on Outlook

September 29, 2012: Outlook, WKUETV




Kentucky Folklife Program relocating to WKU

August 9, 2012: View From the Hill




Kentucky Folklife Program to make Western Kentucky University its new home

August 6, 2012: Press Release

Western Kentucky University is pleased to announce that the Kentucky Folklife Program has moved to the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology in Potter College of Arts and Letters after 20 years as a successful interagency program of the Kentucky Historical Society and Kentucky Arts Council.

 Full Press Release...

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 Last Modified 9/24/14