The Music of the South Carolina Folk Heritage Awards

In his keynote address to the first meeting of the South Carolina Traditional Arts Network, South Carolina folklorist and historian Charles Joyner described Southern culture as a series of rivulets, representing the cultures of Africa, Europe, and Native America, flowing together to form a single mighty river. And perhaps no place in the South better epitomizes this merging of cultures than South Carolina, and no art form better expresses our shared traditions than our music.

It is appropriate then that this CD of SC Folk Heritage Award winners opens with Roll, Jordan, Roll. We may hear the Jordan roll, but in these performances we also hear the Broad and the Catawba rivers carrying Appalachian fiddle tunes and Piedmont Blues down from the Upstate, we hear the Congaree and the Savannah resonate with the spiritual strivings of the African American and Euro American churches, in the Pee Dee and Saluda flow the sounds of bluegrass and old-time country, and out of the Edisto and the Savannah come sounds of shout bands and gospel quartets. These are living waters; the traditions captured on this CD and celebrated by the annual Folk Heritage Awards represent the vital and rich folk culture of our state.

The mission of the SC Traditional Arts Network is to preserve, document, and celebrate such folk traditions. The music documented on this CD, along with the rich variety of other styles and genres from the various ethnic, religious, and cultural groups in our state, have stirred the souls and moved the feet of generations of South Carolinians. By partnering with McKissick Museum, SCTAN is doing its part to help carry these traditions into the future for the next generation.

Dr. Stephen Criswell, USC Lancaster