Place Studies

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Tag: music

Mountain Minstrelsy

It all started with an obscure book, Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania, published nearly a century ago as a collection of song lyrics gathered in the mountains of Pennsylvania by Henry Shoemaker, a folklorist and “song catcher.” It eventually found its way into the hands of David Bielanko and Christine Smith (members of the rock band Marah) shortly after they relocated from Brooklyn to rural central Pennsylvania. Excited by the idea of creating a new and relevant album based upon the lost writings, Bielanko and Smith took liberties in writing new original music, as well as reworking the 100+ year old song lyrics that were often fragmented – and at other times admittedly inaccurate. Finally they put together an analog studio in an old church in Millheim, PA and recruited a band to tackle the recordings, including Gus, an 8-year-old fiddle prodigy. 

The album Marah Presents Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania was out February 25, 2014.
















Check out this fun clip, which gives a glimpse of their music:

For more information, visit:

Harry Smith Music Festival Documentary

In October of 2013, Place Studies Videographry Intern Zander Massey, ’13, completed a short film about the Harry Smith Music Festival at Elk Creek. Here is what he made:

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