Andrew Marlin

Currently a resident of Carrboro, where he leads the popular band Mandolin Orange with his band-mate Emily Frantz, Marlin explains that his mother’s piano playing exerted a strong influence on him throughout his childhood.

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Heritage Quilters

Heritage Quilters Fabric artists Warren, Vance, and Halifax Counties Celebrating its tenth year in 2011, the Warrenton-based Heritage Quilters is both a circle of artists, and an alliance of citizens who care about the past, present, and future of the region. The twenty members provide each other with artistic inspiration and support. They also serve… Read more…

Hugh Carroll

Hugh Carroll credits his success to his family and to God. “Without them,” he explains, “I could not have done the concerts that I was doing.” The Carroll Family currently includes Hugh, son Russell, daughter-in-law Becky, and grandchildren Bella, Gracie, Lydia, and Olivia.

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Chambergrass – Kim Terpening & Dave Schwartz

“Most of the time, we try to keep the songs pretty pure in what they are, whether they’re classical or bluegrass. We try not to mix them up too much. We’ll mix in little things, but I think 80% of what we do is pretty much either bluegrass or classical.”

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Otha Wilkins

Over time, Wilkins became a formidable accordion player, adept at playing traditional songs in the genres of bluegrass, country, old-time, and gospel. His repertoire includes songs like “The Kentucky Waltz,” “Corrina, Corrina,” “Blue Skirt Waltz,” and “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.”

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Karen Lynch Harley

My work tells a story, and that is the most important thing to me, is to tell a story. I don’t do a drawing, a painting, a sculpture, as just something nice to look at. I want it to tell a story.

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Margaret Person

Asked what it is that draws her to traditional hymns, Person explains, “Just listen to the words. That is the most important part of a song—the words. They bring back memories about how God has done things for you. When I hear about choirs that only sing contemporary gospel, I think, Oh, Lord—they just don’t know what they’re missing.”

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Doris Davis

Davis makes all manner of sewn items—dresses, skirts, blouses, underwear, overcoats, tote bags, slipcovers, drapery, and much more. “You’d be amazed at the things you can do if you just try,” she says.

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Debbie Lou Powell

In her teaching, Powell emphasizes that a quilt-maker can express his or her creativity, as well as be authentically traditional, whether sewing by hand or with a machine.

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About the Project

In 2010 and 2011, the North Carolina Folklife Institute—with partners including the Warren County Library and Arts Council, members of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, and the Concerned Citizens of Tillery—conducted research on the living and historical traditions of Warren, Vance, and Halifax Counties. The project is a chapter of NCFI’s Statewide Heritage Initiative, which has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Resourceful Communities Program of the Conservation Fund.

NCFI folklorists Michael Taylor and Sarah Bryan interviewed dozens of tradition bearers in the three-county region, Taylor working primarily with musicians, and Bryan documenting non-musical traditions. The fieldwork was supplemented by interviews that Taylor conducted in 2009 with Warren County musicians, as part of the New Harmonies exhibit, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and the North Carolina Humanities Council. Bryan also researched archival sources of documentation on the area’s folklife traditions. The Haliwa-Saponi Tribe made available interviews conducted in 2010 for the Haliwa-Saponi Arts Documentation Project, which provided important insight for the project as well. Photographer Christopher Fowler made portraits of many of the artists who participated in the project, and photographic documentation of their work. Throughout the research, NCFI received invaluable guidance from community-based advisors, including Sue Loper, former Director of the Warren County Library; Gary Grant, Director of the Concerned Citizens of Tillery; Marty Richardson, of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe; and Jereann Johnson, cofounder of the Heritage Quilters.


The audio recordings, transcripts, photographs, and other materials gathered in the course of this research are archived at the North Carolina Folklife Institute in Durham, and will be archived at the offices of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe in Hollister and at the Warren County Library in Warrenton as well.

Click here for an electronic copy of this report.

Click here for full-color PDF’s of artist profiles.

Full-color PDFs of artist profiles are available from the North Carolina Folklife Institute. Contact NCFI at (919) 383-6040 or