BLOWING ROCK — Blowing Rock Art and History Museum invited Phil Jamison, scholar of traditional Appalachian Dance and professor from Warren Wilson College, to give a lecture on African influences on Appalachian dances.
Phil Jamison is a man with a passion for Appalachian Dance. He is a nationally regarded dance caller, a musician, a dancer and an educator. Originally going to college for mathematics, he took a turn in life when discovering the passion he has for music different aspects of dancing. As an educator he teaches music, dance and the history behind those subjects.
Jamison’s lecture on the history behind Appalachian dance explored more than the ‘Anglo-Saxan perspective’ of culture, but rather how the different cultures of the late 1800’s and early-to-mind 1900’s influenced each other.
Jamison encouraged conversation of its controversial history of America in terms of the music industry and cultural appropriation. He explained how a lot of the modern bluegrass songs that we attribute to early Appalachia can be linked to black slaves singing to the beat of their hammers as they built railroads. Unfortunately, a lot of the history of these songs get lost through time due to white producers taking the music and having white musicians perform them.
Jamison also discussed the influence of indigenous culture on Appalachia dance and music. Understanding the rich history to these dances and songs can help people to credit the correct people.
The lecture lasted roughly an hour with time for questions afterward. The audience was engaged with Jamison, ready to further the conversation on dance and music.
BRAHM recorded the lecture and sold his book afterward.
For more information on Jamison, visit his website at www.philjamison.com.