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Folkways

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Folkways

The Inside Appalachia Folkways Project expands the reporting of the Inside Appalachia team to include more stories from West Virginia as well as expand coverage in Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Ohio

The project establishes the Inside Appalachia Folkways Corps, which launched with 10 specialized freelance reporters from four Appalachian states.

The Folkways initiative will include developing ongoing partnerships with folklife organizations and artisans across the region, as well as expanding WVPB’s educational components surrounding Appalachian folk life and culture, providing a tool kit for educators to incorporate "Inside Appalachia" into classrooms everywhere.

Watch Folkways Videos


  • Moorefield, West Virginia, is home to about 3,300 people — about one in 10 are immigrants. That includes a small community from Eritrea and Ethiopia. Many of them work at the chicken processing plant in town, Pilgrim’s Pride. The hours there are long and don’t leave much time for socializing. Still, members of that East African community continue to practice a tradition they’ve brought from home: the coffee ceremony. Folkways reporter Clara Haizlett brings us this story, with help from former West Virginia state folklorist Emily Hilliard.
  • With Spanglish lyrics, the pluck of a banjo and strum of a guitarra de son, music by Charlottsville’s Lua Project is hard to place. The band defines its sound as “Mexilachian”—a blend of Appalachian old-time and Mexican folk music. But Lua members said their music also draws on Jewish and Eastern European traditions, with a dash of baroque and Scots-Irish influence. Inside Appalachia Folkways reporter Clara Haizlett caught up with a couple members of the band at their home in Charlottesville, Virginia.
  • Some of the world's best steelpan drums are made in W.Va. It all began with the vision of Ellie Mannette.
  • We are seeking an experienced project coordinator for our three-year, grant-funded folkways project. This is a part-time, contract position, 30 hours per week.
  • This August will mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain. Iniside Appalachia Folkways reporter Rebecca Williams talks to Saro Lynch-Thomason, a ballad singer and folklorist from Asheville North Carolina. Saro created the Blair Pathways Project, which tells the history of the West Virginia Mine Wars through music.
  • The famous Civil War-era ballad “Tom Dooley” has everything: love triangle, a grisly murder, a manhunt and a hanging. A version of this song by the Kingston Trio struck a universal chord 60 years ago when it topped the Billboard charts. Inside Appalachia Folkways reporter Heather Duncan is a native of Wilkes County, North Carolina, where the song unfolds. She recently explored why ballads like ‘Tom Dooley’, based on real tragedies and real people, have such staying power.
  • People look forward all year long to the spring ramp collecting season. These days, chefs all over the country use ramps — and experts worry the plants could get over-harvested. For many years, ramps were a hidden gem. What do local communities think? Folkways reporter Laura Harbert Allen brings us this story on this popular — and pungent — food.
  • Like many Appalachian traditions, turkey calls go way back. Historically, they’ve been used as a hunting tool, but one West Virginia artist has taken it to the next level. Brian Aliff makes hand-crafted, prize-winning decorative turkey calls. These pieces are functional and they’re becoming collectors items, but it took a while for Aliff to think of himself as an artist.