Hip-Hop, Animals In Love And More Favorites Inside Appalachia
This week, we’ve pulled a few gems from our archive. We’re listening back to some of our favorite Inside Appalachia stories from the past year. We’ll go on a hike in one of Appalachia’s most gorgeous wild places — West Virginia’s Canaan Valley. We’ll also meet musicians who are growing Appalachia’s hip-hop scene. Those stories and more in this best-of episode of Inside Appalachia.
In This Episode:
- What's Love Got To Do With It? First Date Flops, Skiing And Animals In Love
- In Harlan County, Kentucky, A 21-Year-Old Punk Musician Searches For 97-Year-Old Banjo Maker
- Hip-Hop Artists In Rural Virginia Help Each Other Make Music And Spread The Word About It
- W.Va. Wildflower Pilgrimage Give Naturalists An Inside Look At Dolly Sods
- Common Interests: Listen To Teenagers From Appalachia And Wales Chat Connections
- ‘I Hope You’re Never Afraid When I’m Around’: Dads Share Their Stories
Animals In Love
If you’ve ever observed how animals interact, it seems like they feel love. Penguins mate for life, and elephants form bonds by wrapping their trunks together before they mate. So, do animals actually feel love? Our producer Roxy Todd and co-host Caitlin Tan set out to search for an answer.
Spoiler alert: A few months after we originally aired this story, The West Virginia Wildlife Center got two new otters. There are now three otters at the center. Roxy went to visit them recently and reports that two of them were snuggling on a rock.
What do you think? Let us know. You can email us email@example.com.
Banjo Player Meets Punk Rocker
Earlier this year, we aired a story that later got picked up nationally. Lots of people wrote us about the story, so we knew it had to be in the best-of episode.
During the pandemic, 21-year-old punk rocker Bradford Harris wanted to learn to play the banjo. This led to the search for a 97-year-old banjo maker. Nicole Musgrave brings us this story about the unexpected pairing.
Since the story originally aired in February, Al Cornett, Harris’ mentor in instrument-making, passed away at the age of 97. Harris still has a few handmade instruments for sale. Unfortunately, the community college closed its woodshop. Harris is working to get tools together to build their own woodshop in their backyard. Their punk band, Lips, has done some live shows again recently in Whitesburg, Kentucky.
Hip-Hop Appalachian Artists
When people talk about Appalachian music, banjos and fiddles are often the first things to come to mind — but what about hip-hop? In the United States, rap and hip-hop are usually associated with big cities like New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta. But hip-hop lives all over, including in small towns and hollers across Appalachia.
Folkways reporter Nicole Musgrave spoke with a group of hip-hop artists in the coalfields of Wise County, Virginia. The group is drumming up attention for the music, but they’re also supporting other artists in the scene.
Music featured in this story is off rap artist geonovah’s latest EP, “25 to Life,” and is available on Soundcloud.
Dolly Sods is federally protected public land — full of rocky ridges, soggy bogs and beautiful views. It’s also the site of an annual nature walk called the West Virginia Wildflower Pilgrimage. This year was the 59th time that wildflower and birding experts descended on the area for the event.
Inside Appalachia co-host Mason Adams made the pilgrimage from his home in Floyd County, Virginia to Dolly Sods for the annual event, and brings us the story.
High School Students Swap Audio Diaries
Last school year, high school students in Fayette County, West Virginia exchanged audio letters with teenagers in Wales. They talked a lot about the pandemic, and it turns out that much of what they’ve experienced is universal.
Sam McCarthy and Ela Cudlip are from Merthyr Tydfill, Wales. Brooke Thomas and Mackenzie Kessler are from Fayette County, West Virginia. The students shared their audio letters as part of our Folkways Project, reporting on the connections between Wales and Appalachia.
New Fathers And Pandemic Babies
Becoming a parent can be scary. Add a global pandemic into the equation and that can make things even scarier. Last summer, only a few months into the pandemic, we heard from two new dads — Chuck Kleine, a video producer at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and Joe Buckland, who worked in a restaurant but was furloughed due to COVID-19. This week on the show, we listen back to their conversations which aired in June 2020. We’ll also hear an update from May 2021.
Roxy Todd is our producer. Jade Artherhults is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Andrea Billups. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode. You can find us on Twitter @InAppalachia. You can also send us an email to InsideAppalachia@wvpublic.org.