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May 3, 2004

French Canadian Music Featured at the Library of Congress in May 18 Concert

The American Folklife Center's annual concert series, "Homegrown 2004: The Music of America," continues on May 18 with a noon concert on the Neptune Plaza of the Library of Congress' Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. Featured will be noted French Canadian fiddler Don Roy and Acadian singer Florence Martin.

The Homegrown concert series presents the very best of traditional music and dance from a variety of folk cultures from around the United States. This concert brings great Down East music from the state of Maine.

The Homegrown concerts, co-sponsored by the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, are held once a month from April through December. They are free of charge and are presented from noon to 1 p.m. The closest Metrorail stops are Capitol South (blue and orange lines) and Union Station (red line).

Don Roy, from Gorham, Maine, is one of the foremost fiddlers in the northeastern United States. He is a championship player with depth in many fiddle styles, but his roots are in the style of the French Canadian tradition. Roy grew up surrounded by traditional music and learned to play from his uncle, Lucien Matthieu, a master fiddler.

For a number of years, Roy directed the popular Maine French Fiddlers, a group that appeared at festivals and concerts around the region. In 1994 and 2001, Roy received fellowship awards from the state of Maine for excellence in traditional music. When playing French Canadian music, Roy's group is known as the Don Roy Trio, which includes Don's wife Cindy on piano and Jay Young on bass. He also leads the band Fiddlebox, which plays a broader range of music.

Like her mother and grandmother before her, Florence Rose Martin collects and sings the songs of her Acadian ancestors. Martin grew up in the northern Maine town of St. Agatha in the St. John Valley, a part of the original Acadie, where French has been the primary language for 300 years. She grew up speaking and singing in French, learning songs from her family and neighbors. Martin's family had a tradition of writing down songs in a notebook, and Florence Martin has continued this tradition, amassing a collection of several hundred old songs from her community.

Martin now lives in Lewiston, in southern Maine, another community with deep French-speaking roots. She continues to collect songs and songbooks and for the past 15 years has been appearing at festivals and concerts in New England, sharing the music of her Acadian culture.

Homegrown 2004: The Music of America Concert Series Future Noontime Concerts

June 15
Paschall Brothers - African American gospel quartet from Virginia Neptune Plaza at noon

July 14
Oinkari Basque Dancers
from Idaho Neptune Plaza at noon

Aug. 18
Phong Nguyen Ensemble
- Vietnamese music from Ohio Coolidge Auditorium at noon

Sept. 28
2004 NEA National Heritage Fellow
- To Be Announced Neptune Plaza at noon

Oct. 20
Nadeem Dlaikan
- Arabic music from Michigan Coolidge Auditorium at noon

Nov. 17
American Indian Music and Dance Troupe
- Oklahoma Co-sponsored with the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian Coolidge Auditorium at noon

Dec. 8
Jerry Grcevich with Tamburitza Orchestra
- Tambura music from Pennsylvania Coolidge Auditorium at noon

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in the Library in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world. For more information, visit the center's Web site at www.loc.gov/folklife.

Part of the Kennedy Center's Performing Arts for Everyone initiative, the Millennium Stage helps fulfill the center's mission to make performing arts widely accessible. The Millennium Stage introduces the performing arts to the local community and to millions of people who visit the center each year. These free, 6 p.m. performances are offered 365 days a year. For a schedule and more information, visit the Kennedy Center's Web site at http://kennedy-center.org.

The Folklore Society of Greater Washington (FSGW) was founded in 1964 to further the understanding, investigation, appreciation and performance of the traditional folk music and folklore of the American people. The FSGW presents more than 200 folk events in the Washington, D.C. area each year. Learn more about the organization at www.fsgw.org.

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PR 04-095
05/03/04
ISSN 0731-3527

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