Sounding Appalachian Spaces from Afar

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Performances of old time string band and bluegrass music today often include participants' sense of a deeply "emplaced" sensibility, often with specific place references to Appalachia. How do people outside the United States perform versions of these spaces as they engage in these Appalachia-related music making practices? To address this question I draw mainly on my long-term ethnographic research on bluegrass-related music-making in the Czech Republic, including insights I have gleaned from encounters with musical participants in similar scenes from other countries. I start my inquiry in my own identity as an outsider in Appalachia, and frame issues of genre and regional identity using ideas about place and country music from Negus (1999) and Murphy (2014). The sense of in-between-ness and ambiguity that my field colleagues have expressed challenge homological linkings of place and country music (Carney 1974, 1996), leading me to conclude by posing these views with ideas about"place" as a flexible concept from geographer Doreen Massey (2005).


Shepherdstown, WV

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