23rd Annual Alaska Folk Festival Guest Artists

Kirk Sutphin Doug Rorrer Kinney Rorrer

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North Carolina Piedmont old-time music is the style played by the Guest Artists for the 23rd Annual Alaska Folk Festival. Kirk Sutphin on fiddle, Kinney Rorrer on banjo and vocals, and Doug Rorrer on guitar, are from North Carolina and as a trio focus on the music of Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers.

The North Carolina Piedmont style has a unique sound that differs from Round Peak, Galax, and other perhaps more familiar old-time styles. It's upbeat, swingy and performed by Kirk, Kinney, and Doug with energy. All of our guests come from families with a long music tradition. Kirk Sutphin's grandfather grew up with master North Carolina fiddler Tommy Jarrell. While a teenager, and at his grandfather's suggestion, Kirk studied fiddle and banjo with Jarrell for several years. Kirk was also influenced by Frank Jenkins, Taylor Kimble, and Posey Rorrer.

Kinney Rorrer bought his first banjo as a teenager in the early 1960's and learned tunes from his father Clifford and his great uncle Posey. Posey Rorrer played fiddle for the North Carolina Ramblers which featured the great Charlie Poole. Kinney has written a biography of Charlie Pole called Ramblin' Blues and led workshops on his music at festivals and music camps around the country.

Doug Rorrer, Kinney's younger brother, grew up listening to his great uncles Charlie Poole and Posey Rorrer on his Dad's old Victrola. His guitar "heroes" were Roy Harvey of the Ramblers, Riley Puckett of the Skillet Lickers, and a local guitarist, Gene Meade, who played int he Puckett style. Along with his wife Kathy, Doug owns and operates Flyin' Cloud Records which specializes in old-time, blue-grass, and other traditional acoustic music.

Kirk, Kinney, and Doug have performed separately on old time recordings. Together with bass player Everette Harris they formed the Shootin' Creek String Band and in 1964 recorded a CD, If the River was Whiskey. They have performed and taught at music festivals in Elkins, West Virginia; Port Townsend, Washington; Berea, Kentucky; and elsewhere.

 

Dudley and Jacqueline Laufman Guest Dance Callers/Teachers

Since he began playing and calling contradances in the 1950s, Dudley Laufman's influence on the growth of contradancing in this country has been considerable. Many credit his energy and enthusiasm as a caller and his desire to include all dancers in the fun, regardless of their experience or skills, as key factors in transforming contradance from a mostly New England pastime in the 1950's to its current worldwide popularity. Although contradancing has evolved in recent years to include more "modern" influences in both music and dance figures, Dudley, who learned his fiddle style from New Hampshire old timers Dick Richardson and Arthur Hanson, has remained committed to learning and preserving the traditional New England and French Canadian tunes and dances which are the foundations of contradance. He has called and taught at many dance and music camps and has been nominated for a New Hampshire Governor's Living Treasure Award.

At home in Canterbury, New Hampshire, Dudley and Jacqueline, an accomplished musician and caller in her own right, live a life still steeped in the New England musical tradition. As the group "Two Fiddles", they make theirliving playing, calling, and clogging their feet for about 200 gigs a year, many of them "kitchen junkets", family dances, and concerts and programs in schools.

They play music in the "old time style," rough, and "close to the floor" and invite other musicians at the festival to join them. Beside dance sets on Thursday and Saturday night, Dudley and Jacqueline will do a family dance following the Children's Concert on Saturday, and workshops in 17th century dances of the common folk, Quebecois dances, and French-Canadian clogging while fiddling (for experienced fiddlers). We're delighted to have these performers, keepers, and teachers of the New England dance tradition with us this year.

The Alaska Folk Festival wants to thank the Juneau New England Barn Dancers for contributing money to help bring the Laufmans to the festival.