Two core members of the rock and roll band Marah — David Bielanko and Christine Smith — moved from New York City to rural Pennsylvania a few years ago and became fans of the forgotten music of the region.
Bielanko and Smith discovered Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania, a book of song lyrics collected by folklorist and song catcher Henry Shoemaker. They built an analog recording studio in an old church and recruited local musicians to record an album of brand-new music for these songs, historically sung in the backwoods settlements, hunting camps and lumber camps from 1840 to 1923.
The band members include Kai Schafft, Jimmy Baughman, Chris Rattie, and a 10-year-old fiddle prodigy named Gus.
Marah Presents Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania was released in February 2014 and will be available at the May 17 event.
"Marah has breathed life into these old song lyrics, conjuring ghosts, new life and form out of thin air and an old dusty book. This album doesn't merely retell old folks songs, it reimagines and reinterprets them for future generations." — No Depression
Popmatters calls it "... a great album ... a weird and wild stew of country goodness, seasoned with bits of rock, punk, Appalachia, folk and great songwriting."
The event is supported by the band Marah and the Bucknell University Environmental Center's Place Studies Initiative, Environmental Center, Music Department and Comparative Humanities program.
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