ACT presents Revels Repertory Company's new musical theater production, "Voices from the Mountain," on May 2 in Tamworth

On Saturday, May 2nd, Arts Council of Tamworth will present Revels Repertory Company’s new musical theater production, Voices from the Mountain, at the K. A. Brett School Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Voices is based on the life of New England native Olive Dame Campbell, one of the first collectors of traditional folk songs in the Appalachian Mountains. Born in Medford, Massachusetts in 1882, Campbell graduated from Tufts University before visiting Appalachia with her husband and missionary John C. Campbell. The singing of the English ballad Barbara Allen by a young girl on an Appalachian mountainside captured Campbell’s attention. Struck by the uniqueness of the child’s interpretation and her soulful voice, the Campbells set out to interview the Appalachian people, especially in North Carolina, and collect their music. Later they expanded the project to gathering all the folk arts of the region and established the John C. Campbell School of Folk Arts, which still exists today in Brasstown, NC.

Audiences will share Campbell’s delight in discovering music in this country that had come from England, Scotland and Ireland several hundred years before and was no longer being performed the original style in those countries. While Campbell has now been forgotten by most New Englanders except for folk singers and scholars, the songs that she and her colleague Cecil Sharp published in 1917 in English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians were the basis of the American folk song revival of the 1960s and continue to be performed, recorded and taught in schools today. Revels Director Kay Dunlap says, “I always thought songs like ‘The Cruel War’ were written by Peter, Paul and Mary. It turns out that they got it from Campbell’s book.”

The independent film Songcatcher, released in 2001, was based loosely on Campbell’s story. The music for the film was supervised by North Carolina musician and tradition-bearer Sheila K. Adams. Ms. Adams is also the artistic advisor for Revels Rep’s new show and spent several days in Boston in December coaching ensemble members. The music in the show either comes from Campbell’s book or from Adams’ family, some of who provided songs for it.

John and Olive Campbell

This staged and costumed production includes the ballads, folk songs, stories, dances, play party games and folk arts of the people the Campbells met. Performers will include Revels Repertory Company’s costumed ensemble of 40 adults and children and guest instrumentalists. The program is appropriate for adults and children age six and up, and contains many opportunities for audience participation.

Tickets for this performance are $5 for children 18 and under, $12 for adults, and $25 for a family. They can be purchased securely here; no fee is charged and tickets will be held for you at the door. Tickets can also be purchased at The Other Store in Tamworth or by calling 603-323-8104.

As part of ACT’s presentation of Voices from the Mountain, the film Songcatcher will be shown on Wednesday, April 29, at 7:00 p.m. at the Cook Memorial Library in Tamworth. This event is free but donations are welcome.

The Remick Farm Museum will also be hosting an event in conjunction with Voices. On Friday evening, May 1, at 6:00, the Museum will offer a fireside stew supper with Revels Director Kay Dunlap. Dunlap will appear in costume to talk about the history of the songcatchers who traveled to Appalachia in the early 1900s to record the music there and about some of the traditional customs of the region in that period. The cost for this event is $4/person, and includes soup, bread and a beverage.

An educational version of the show will also be presented at the Brett School on May 1.

This show is presented in partnership with the K. A. Brett School and funded in part by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies. It is made possible through the generous support of the Tamworth Foundation, season sponsor Silver Lake Home Center, presenting sponsor Meredith Village Savings Bank, event sponsors BEAM Construction, The Mad Planter, and Tamworth Family Medicine, co-sponsors InterLakes Family Dental, Ossipee Insurance, and Surroundings Art Gallery, and media sponsors Magic 104FM and 93.5 WMWV and The Conway Daily Sun.

"Understanding the Movies: the Art of Film" at the Chocorua Public Library May 6

On Wednesday, May 6, at 12:00 p.m., Chocorua Public Library will host the third program in its "First Wednesdays" noontime humanities series. Patrick D. Anderson, Professor of Humanities at Colby-Sawyer College, will present “Understanding the Movies: the Art of Film.” This program is being co-sponsored by the Arts Council of Tamworth (ACT). Film is a powerful medium, generating billions of dollars and untold hours of entertainment around the world. Understanding how films create and deliver ideas and how they shape and reflect popular attitudes adds to our appreciation of the cinematic experience. Increase your film vocabulary and have fun discussing movies together.

Patrick Anderson is a beloved teacher and passionate scholar of film, American literature, and Native American culture. He has written a book and many articles on film, reviews films on the radio, and lectures on the subject around the country. Anderson is currently the Gibney Distinguished Professor at Colby-Sawyer. In 1998 he received the Jack Jensen Award for Excellence in Teaching, and in 2004 was appointed as a George Washington Distinguished Professor/Scholar by the New Hampshire Society of Cincinnati.

Professor Patrick Anderson

The “First Wednesdays” series is made possible by a grant from the New Hampshire Humanities Council ( “Understanding the Movies: the Art of Film” is one of over 250 programs and exhibits available to organizations statewide through the "Humanities To Go!" catalog. The final program in the four-part series will be American Quilt Traditions with Cheryl A. Savageau on Wednesday, June 3, at 11:00 a.m.

This program is open to the public free of charge. Participants are invited to bring lunch and a drink. Chocorua Public Library is located at 25 Deer Hill Road in Chocorua Village (one block east of the intersection of Routes 16 and 113) and is handicapped accessible. For further information, please call the Library at 603-323-8610. (Regular hours:  Sun. 1:00-5:00 p.m., Mon. 1:00-7:00 p.m., Thurs. 1:00-7:00 p.m.)

ACT presents Malian kora musician Mamadou Diabate on April 4

Arts Council of Tamworth is excited to offer the community the rare opportunity to hear the nimble-fingered Mamadou Diabate, a Manding kora musician from Mali, play music traditional to his people. The Boston Globe calls Mamadou’s kora playing “a musical adventure in the best sense of the word.” NAPRA Review goes on from there: “an adventure that is exotic yet somehow familiar…music so listenable and fresh.” Mamadou will perform Saturday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m at the Salyards Center for the Arts in Conway, NH.

The kora is a 21-string harp played by griots, or jelis as they are known among the Manding people of West Africa. Jelis are more than just traditional musicians. They use music and sometimes oratory to preserve and sustain people’s consciousness of the past, a past that stretches back to the 13th century when the Manding king Sunjata Keita consolidated the vast empire of Mali, covering much of West Africa. The stories of these glory days and the times since remain important touchstones for people today—not only for the Manding, but for many citizens of Mali, Guinea, Gambia and Senegal.

Mamadou Diabate was born in Kita, a Malian city long known as a center for the arts and culture of the Manding people. As the name Diabate indicates, Mamadou is a griot from the Mandinka West African jeli family. His musical lineage goes back seven centuries, to the time of Sunjata Keita himself. Mamadou’s father Djelimory was, like his son, a well-known kora player. Mamadou went to live with him in Bamako when he was four. When it came time for him to return to Kita and go to school, Mamadou knew the kora was his destiny. His father had taught him how to play, and from then on he devoted himself to the kora, watching and listening to other players, studying with other master kora musicians. Before long, Mamadou left school and began playing kora for local jeli singers and traveling through the region to play at the ceremonies where modern jelis ply their trade, mostly baptisms and weddings.

In his early twenties Mamadou was invited to travel to the United States with a group of Manding musicians and cultural authorities. Following a successful tour, Mamdou decided to continue his work in the United States and since then has made his home in and around New York. He plays frequently with visiting Malian stars, and has performed at the United Nations, Lincoln Center, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

He has also delved into uncharted waters, jamming with all manner of expert musicians from jazz luminaries to masters of blues. His recording credits have expanded as he has laid tracks with artists ranging from Irish soloist Susan McKeown to jazz bassist Ben Allison and Benin’s celebrated Angélique Kidjo. Today Mamadou performs around North America and Europe. Playing with diverse musicians allows him to bring the kora to new audiences. At the same time, he remains rooted in the traditions of the Manding kora and his griot heritage, and is one of only a handful of remaining kora players keeping the tradition alive. RootsWorld praised Mamadou’s “Sparkling technique…compelling rhythmic groove…[and] flair for making this ancient instrument sound as though it was invented yesterday.” “Mamadou Diabate just makes brilliant music…beautiful, soulful precision…exceptionally creative,” raves The Miami New Times. To hear Mamadou in performance is to experience the beauty and freshness of the kora and to participate in the ancient heritage of Mali.

Tickets for this performance are $5 for children 12 and under, $10 for students, and $20 for adults. They can be purchased easily and securely online here; no fee is charged and tickets will be held for you at the door. Tickets can also be purchased at The Other Store in Tamworth or by calling 603-323-8104.

This show is made possible through the generous support of season sponsor Silver Lake Home Center, presenting sponsor Meredith Village Savings Bank, event sponsors The Mad Planter and Settlers’ Green, co-sponsors Greenside Company, Paul L. King, and North Country Fair/Valley Jewelers, and media sponsors Magic 104FM and 93.5 WMWV and The Conway Daily Sun.

Don't Miss Gráda Tonight

Tickets for Gráda will be available at the door at Salyards Center for the Arts on Main Street in Conway Village from 6:00 PM on. Show starts at 7:30; cash bar (beer and wine) available. Here's what one patron had to say about this band: "Brilliant performers... . Good to great set of tunes... . The type of Irish/Celtic/Breton music I like... . Alan is a hoot with the jokes,  a fantastic flute and drum player... Gerry is liable to be wearing pants from the planet Mars... Nicola should play the fiddle more... Andrew is the best stand up bass player I have ever seen... the jury is still out on the new fiddle player but he appears to be fitting in nicely with the group. I recommend you go see them." We recommend it too. For more info about this performance click here.