Appalachian Fiddle Folklore (2021 program)

with Adam Booth, Dakota Karper, and Ben Townsend
Adam Booth, Dakota Karper, Ben Townsend

A special performance for our 2021 online festival! Watch the performance anytime on festival day by following this link:

Appalachian folklore is filled with storytelling, fiddles, and occasionally stories about fiddles! Adam Booth, Dakota Karper, and Ben Townsend continue the tradition in a contemporary fashion. Adam tells folktales about fiddles and fiddlers, while Dakota and Ben weave traditional and original tunes into the telling. Experience old-time stories and music from West Virginia, Kentucky, and western Maryland, made new again.

Adam Booth, storyteller

Adam Booth’s original stories blend traditional mountain folklore, music, and an awareness of contemporary Appalachia. A nationally touring artist, his professional telling appearances include premiere storytelling events across the United States, such as the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, the International Storytelling Center, the National Storytelling Festival, the Appalachian Studies Association Conference, the National Storytelling Conference, the National Academy of Medicine, and as a Spoken Word Resident at the Banff Centre (Alberta, Canada). He is a member of the Recording Academy and his recordings have received a Parents’ Choice Gold Award, two Parents’ Choice Silver Honors, and four Storytelling World Awards and Honors. He is a four-time champion of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest. Adam is the inaugural Storyteller-in-Residence at Shepherd University.

Dakota Karper, fiddle

Dakota Karper was born and raised in rural West Virginia, where she grew up surrounded by old-time Appalachian string band music. From a young age, she took to this music with great abandon. Absorbing as much as possible, she apprenticed under fiddler Joe Herrmann, spent weeks at Augusta Heritage Center, and various music festivals in and around West Virginia, and studied classical violin at the Shenandoah Arts Academy in Winchester, VA. After living in Baltimore, Maryland for seven years, Dakota moved back to her roots in Capon Bridge, WV, where she is now teaching Appalachian fiddle, as well as performing in the the surrounding areas. Dakota was a founding member of the ‘Short Mountain String Band’, and ‘Hay Fever’. In 2019, Dakota opened her own traditional roots music school called ‘The Cat and the Fiddle’.  Whether performing, teaching, or jamming, Dakota is always looking for a way to share her passion for mountain music.

Ben Townsend, fiddle

Born and raised in Romney, West Virginia, multi-instrumentalist Ben Townsend has studied Appalachian traditional music extensively. With banjo mentors such as Riley Baugus and Ron Mullennex, and fiddle mentors like Dave Bing and Earl White, Townsend has studied a vast variety of old-time traditions ranging from the archaic, haunting fiddle of his home to the Round Peak music of North Carolina and Virginia to the Bluegrass of East Kentucky and Ohio.

As a member of The Fox Hunt, Old Sledge, The Iron Leg Boys, The Hackensaw Boys, and now as a solo performer, Ben has traveled across the country and around the world spreading his unique take on West Virginia regional old-time music. He has shared the stage with acts varying from Ralph Stanley to the Henry Girls of County Donegal, Ireland to the Taiko drummers of Yamagata Prefecture, Japan.

Ben is also a devoted teacher of the music of his region and works both privately and as a featured teacher at music festivals and camps. He has been involved in the Augusta Heritage Festival in Elkins, West Virginia as a staff musician and teacher, and has also worked as an instructor at The Allegheny Echoes Festival in Marlinton, West Virginia, Common Ground on the Hill at McDaniel College in Maryland, and The Upper Potomac Fiddle Festival in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, just to name a few.

Currently, Townsend is working on new approaches to traditional music as OneManTreasure, a hip-hop persona, and as a member of Tabernacle, an ambient collaboration with his brother Jim Townsend.  He is also building an online catalog of solo traditional banjo and fiddle music as a part of the Vandalia Creative project which can be found on YouTube.