Union Bank & Trust
Virginia Folklife Area

Union Bank & Trust
 
Virginia FolklifeVirginia Foundation for the Humanities

This year's program theme will be announced in late summer

The 2016 Theme: Tasty Licks – Virginia’s Food Traditions

The popular expression “you are what you eat” is often meant to be interpreted literally, but this saying holds true in the greater cultural sense as well. Much like our other cultural traditions, the foods we prepare and eat connect us with our own sense of communal belonging and identity, be it ethnic, regional, occupational, or familial. Foodways also play a critical role in how we experience ways of life different from our own. Virginia, like much of America, is a remarkably diverse place, and it often is through the sharing of foods that we, in the most tactile sense, get a taste of each other’s culture.

The 2016 Virginia Folklife Area will showcase the diverse foodways of Virginia, and present some of its greatest practitioners. Our focus will not be on professional chefs and restaurateurs, but rather those “home cooks” who are revered in their own communities. Throughout the weekend, we will be hosting cooking demonstrations that speak to the remarkable diversity of the Commonwealth, showcasing foodways both old and new to Virginia—from fried apple pies of the Blue Ridge to crab soup of the Eastern Shore, from Mexican molé to Filipino Lechon. Audiences will get to learn family-held recipes, share in closely-guarded kitchen secrets, and yes, taste the results.

And what goes better with a great meal than incredible music? The Virginia Folklife Stage will be serving up our usual buffet of musical delicacies and “tasty licks,” much of which will draw from the same communities as our foodway demonstrations—“perfect pairings” if you will, providing a feast for all the senses.


Know a young banjo player?

Sign them up for the 2nd Annual Scott Street Five String Finals! Online entries are due by 5pm Friday, September 30th and are open to Bluegrass/Scruggs-style or Clawhammer/old-time players that are 18 and younger. Three finalists in each category will appear at the Richmond Folk Festival for the live finals on October 8th!


Union Bank & Trust
2016 Virginia Folklife Stage Performers

 

Trio Sefardi

Trio Sefardi

Sephardic Folk Songs
Northern Virginia

Trio Sefardi is inspired by a passion for Sephardic music, playing with La Rondinella, the Western Wind, and National Heritage Fellow Flory Jagoda. When the Sephardic Jews were forced into exile from Spain and Portugal in the late fifteenth century, many settled in other Mediterranean countries but preserved their native language, Ladino, and their oral culture.

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Unique Sound of the Mountains: Larry Sigmon and Martha Spencer

Unique Sound of the Mountains:
Larry Sigmon and Martha Spencer

Old Time
Callaway and Whitetop, Virginia

Since the passing of his longtime performing partner Barbara Poole in 2008, Larry Sigmon had been performing rarely until old-time musician and advocate Martha Spencer arrived to interview him for her online documentary project, Mountain Music Magazine. Martha encouraged Larry to play some tunes, joining him on bass and playing Barbara’s signature spirited double-slap style. The two took to each other immediately, and the “Unique Sound” was reborn.

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Virginia Folklife Cooking Demonstrations

Mary Stuart and Andy Parks 
Chuck and Robin Pruitt

Mary Stuart and Andy Parks
Chuck and Robin Pruitt

Tangier Island Cooking
Tangier Island, Virginia

Tangier, Virginia, a small island of just more than one square mile in the Chesapeake Bay, is one of the most unique communities in the country. Once a summer refuge for the Pocomoke Indians, humans have long been drawn to Tangier and the neighboring islands for their natural beauty and rich bounties of the Bay, particularly soft crabs and oysters. Crabbing and oyster fishing have fed and sustained the island’s residents for centuries, and still remain a critically important occupation and way of life.

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Luz Maria Lopez

Luz Maria Lopez

Mexican Cooking Traditions
Earlysville, Virginia

Luz Maria Lopez was born in the small town of Morocoy, in the state of Quintana Roo on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula after her parents moved there from Michoacán. Her mother was a prodigious cook, and Luz grew up learning the many traditional dishes of the region, including cochinita pibil, tamales de hoja de platano, and panuchos, as well as dishes from her mother’s home state of Michoacán in the west of Mexico.

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Unique Sound of the Mountains: Larry Sigmon and Martha Spencer

Sephardic Cooking Traditions – Beyhan Çagri Trock

Sephardic Foodways
Bethesda, Maryland

The Washington, D.C., area is home to a small but vibrant Sephardic community of about 12,000 people. Like other Sephardic Jews, they are descended from Jews expelled from Spain in 1492, and their culture incorporates Spanish, North African, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern customs. The D.C. area’s first Sephardic Jews arrived from Turkey and Greece in 1914.

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Deborah Pratt and Clementine Macon Boyd

Oyster Shucking – Deborah Pratt and Clementine Macon Boyd

Oyster Shucking Champions
Middlesex County

For communities on Virginia’s Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula, the oyster fishery was perhaps the largest and most influential industry from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s. Men and women employed by the industry worked a variety of jobs, from boat cook, captain, and crew, to shore-based scow gangs and shuckers. Shucking in particular provided many employment opportunities for African Americans throughout the Chesapeake region.

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Randy Bush and the Red, White, and Blue Stew Crew

Randy Bush and the Red, White,
and Blue Stew Crew

Brunswick Stew
Richmond, Virginia

What began, according to area legend, as a communal meal prepared for a hunting expedition on the banks of the Nottoway River in 1828, the cooking of Brunswick Stew has evolved into a time-honored tradition—a staple at community gatherings, a source of regional pride, the focus of spirited competition, and a true Virginia culinary art.

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Dried fried apple pies – Frances Davis

Dried fried apple pies – Frances Davis

Fried Apple Pie Making
Rocky Mount, Virginia

Known as “Fried Apple Pies,” “Dried Apple Pies,” or even “Fried Dried Apple Pies,” these locally made pies seem to have a ubiquitous presence throughout Southwest Virginia, appearing on the counters and shelves of country stores, gas stations, and community festivals. The defining characteristic of the pie is its intense flavor, accomplished through the use of dried apples rehydrated through a long simmering process with brown sugar.

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Heirloom Apples - Clyde Jenkins

Heirloom Apples – Clyde Jenkins

Clyde Jenkins
Heirloom Apples and Apple Grafting
Stanley, VA

Before the last half of the twentieth century, a wide variety of apples were grown regionally, with apple types grown according to the varying soil, weather, and habitat conditions across the United States. The advent of a national market, driven by the development and consolidation of supermarket chains, has reduced the number of available apple varieties to a dozen or so that keep well, respond well to extensive spray programs, and have an attractive and uniform outer skin. Much of the flavor that our ancestors cherished in apples has been sacrificed.

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Chef Ida MaMusu

Chef Ida MaMusu – African Vegetarian Traditions

Africanne on Main
Richmond, Virginia

In 1980, Ida MaMusu fled war-torn Monrovia, Liberia, and came to the United States. Her grandmother, Ida Williams, was originally from Reston, Virginia, and went to Liberia as part of the American Colonization Society, a movement sending freed slaves back to Africa. Under her grandmother’s tutelage, Ida learned the art of cooking, sometimes without even going near the kitchen.

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Barb Gillespie

Grateful Bread – Barb Gillespie

Grateful Bread
Floyd, Virginia

Barb is alternately a sculptor, a batik artist, a painter, a belly dancer, a massage therapist, a singer-songwriter, and a gifted baker. She first learned the art of baking from her parents who participated in the natural foods movement of the early 1970s. She has been baking bread in Floyd since 2001, supplying local restaurants and farmers markets throughout Southwest Virginia. She opened the much loved “Grateful Bread Bakery” in 2011, showcasing her old-world-style sour bread and other baked masterpieces of her imagination.

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Filipino Traditions

Filipino Traditions

Filipinos in Virginia

Approximately one million Filipinos have immigrated to the United States since the 1950s, initially to the west coast.  In 2010, more than 90,000 Filipinos were living in Virginia, some 40,000 of them in Hampton Roads, with other strong communities in metro-Richmond and Northern Virginia. Today, Filipinos are the second-largest Asian population in the Commonwealth; and Hampton Roads is home to the largest Filipino community east of the Mississippi.

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