In The News

Fiddlers to hit campus for Festival of the Arts

This story originally appeared in the Daily Eastern News

 Fiddles will be howling Saturday as two old-time string bands, The Embarras Valley Haymakers and White Mule, will play songs rooted in east-central and southeastern Illinois styles.

The Embarras Valley Haymakers will preform at 1 p.m. on the Celebration stage, which will be located S 7th St. between the Doudna Fine Arts Center and The Tarble Arts Center. White Mule will preform after at 2 p.m. Admittance is free.

According to a press release, both bands have roots tied to the Indian Creek Delta Boys, Charleston’s legendary old-time string band from the ‘70s and ‘80s, and the area’s old-time stringed music traditions.

White Mule has Genevieve Koester on fiddle, Smith Koester playing banjo, and Andy Gribble on guitar. Koester is the daughter of two Charleston fiddlers — the late Garry Harrison from the Indian Creek Delta Boys, and Gaye Harrison who plays with the band Motherlode. She sometimes teamed up with her father to perform in a band they called The New Mules.

Vaughn Jaenike organized the efforts of the Indian Creek Delta Boys to locate old-time players and record their tunes to become folded into other folk arts field research. At the time, Jaenike was dean of the college of fine arts. The research was funded through three National Endowment for the Arts grants and was headed up by folklorist Jens Lund.

Recordings of their tunes are available in the Tarble.

The Haymakers include Jesse and Levi Woollen-Danner, and Cliff Harrison. Jesse on guitar, and Levi on banjo, are the sons of the late David Danner, a member of Indian Creek Delta Boys toward the end of its run. Fiddler Cliff Harrison is the son of Terry Harrison.

Celebration’s old-time string band performances are part of the program “Illinois Folk Arts: From Generation to Generation at Celebration 2014.” This is a cooperative program of the Tarble Arts Center, the EIU College of Arts & Humanities’ Celebration: A Festival of the Arts, and Company of Folk.

The program is funded in part by a grant from the Ruth & Vaughn Jaenike’s Access to the Arts Fund, Tarble Arts Center membership contributions, Friends of Celebration, and by Company of Folk through grants from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, the Illinois Humanities Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Company of Folk is a non-profit organization dedicated to researching, preserving and presenting local and folk culture of Illinois and the upper Midwest. The Tarble is one of five sites in Illinois selected to host the exhibit “From Generation to Generation: Folk Arts of Illinois” and its related programs. The exhibit is on display at Tarble through June 22.