The Songcatcher: Olive Dame Campbell
with Alex Cumming

September 30, 7–8:30pm EDT

on Zoom

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About the Program

Olive Dame Campbell (1882–1954) left a huge legacy in folk music, song, craft, and education, yet her name is often forgotten or glanced over. This new show presented by Alex Cumming explores her life and legacy through songs, stories, and archival images.

A Massachusetts native, Olive Dame Campbell and her husband John spent several years traveling throughout the Appalachian Mountains studying social conditions, agricultural practices, ballads, and crafts. Their hope was to preserve and share the crafts, techniques, and tools used in everyday mountain life, and to improve the quality of that life by establishing a folk school in the rural southern United States as an alternative to university programs that drew young people away from the region. After John’s death, Olive founded the non-profit John C. Campbell Folk School in 1925, based on a Danish model promoting cultural values over book learning.

About the Presenter

Alex Cumming is a traditional singer, accordionist, pianist, and dance caller hailing from Somerset, England, now living in Greater Boston, MA, USA. He performs songs and tunes from around the United Kingdom and America with a great depth of knowledge of the tradition. Alex has made his mark on the folk scene with his rhythmic dance-able accordion style, strong voice, and fun and engaging stage presence. An experienced teacher and workshop leader, he has run group workshops in dance, song, and music for many schools and some of the top folk festivals and organizations. Alex is co-founder of Virtual Accordion Camp.

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