Through Their Voices: Female Musician Activists in North Carolina

Music is both an artistic and cultural product that allows groups and individuals to communicate identity, history and story. By examining the musical aesthetics and cultural context of a piece audiences today can appreciate the experience of both the presenter and moment of history. In this music history presentation Ruth Wyand will use musical and cultural analysis to examine the aesthetics and stories that informed North Carolina’s rich tradition of female musician activists. Through photographs, narratives and live music, Wyand’s interdisciplinary presentation demonstrates how the songs and stories of six North Carolina women embody their efforts to inspire change and foster greater societal awareness of their causes in both local and national arenas.

The presentation will highlight traditional female Cherokee and Lumbee tribal storytellers, union organizer and balladeer Ella May Wiggins, blues musician Etta Baker, mountain musician Samantha Bumgarner, and conclude with the jazz great Nina Simone. Wyand will contextualize the musical and poetic contributions of these women by sharing a brief overview of their life, struggle and achievement. 

Digital projector