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.

AndrewMarlin Resize

Patrick Draffin

Patrick Draffin says of his upbringing, “I was raised to understand that stories are our history, and that’s how you learn it. [I] was told at a very early age, ‘Listen to your elders.’”

PatrickDraffin- resize

Chris Joyce

Potter Chris Joyce has deep family roots in North Carolina, in the pottery-rich south-central section of the state. His longtime love of pottery shows in his work, in the ways that he blends tradition and innovation into beautiful new combinations.

ChrisJoyce

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.

KarenHarley- resize

Warrenton Echoes

Founded in 1957, the Echoes—who currently count founders Roy “June” Foster and James Carter, along with younger recruits James Martin, Jr., Previs Foster, Reginald Allen, and Smith, Jr., as members—have long been celebrated performers on the Upper South’s gospel circuit.

Warrenton Echoes- resize

Peggy Stocks

Through her class she has made a significant contribution to the renaissance of quilt-making in this part of North Carolina, teaching many students who have gone on to become expert quilters as well.

PeggyStocks1- resize

Freida Harlow

Each Saturday night, visitors can find Freida presiding over performances at the Opry House, often singing or playing a mountain dulcimer, or introducing visiting musicians to the enthusiastic audience. “If anybody needs me for anything special and I can help them out here with the Opry, I will do it.”

FreidaHarlow2- reszie

Pastor Brenda Peace-Jenkins

“I’m just being obedient to what God has given me to do. He wants me to stay in this section of town, even when these walls get torn down and a new church is built. I have to be in Flint Hill, to help this community.”

Pastor Brenda Peace with husband Linwood- resize

Matt Nelson

“I started playing harmonica when I was 13 years old,” he remembers. “I bought my first one from Rose’s dime store in Littleton for a quarter, and I learned to play ‘Oh Susanna’ on it.”

Matt Nelson- resize

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.

Read more ….

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 staff@ncfolk.org.