On The Road with Black Fiddlers

In about then days from today I will be sitting with John Jeramiah Sullivan in his home in Wilmington, NC. The purpose of the interview is to document for Black Fiddlers, his impressions on early American music. In a recent profile of Rhiannon Giddens publish on the New York Magazine, Mr. Sullivan partially reveals his re-discovery of Francis “Frank” Johnson, the first Black composer to be published in the United States.


I landed on the article only to realize that his commitment to. and passion for band-string music, early fiddlers, and other forms of early Black culture in America was remarkable. If all goes well, I might even get a closer look at his collection of photographs recently featured in “Another Article” by MOMA Magazine.


Peg Leg Sam | Still from “Born for Hard Luck” (1976)

In the previously mentioned profile of Rhiannon Giddens, Sullivan mentions ethnomusicologist Kip Lornell who, in the mid 1970s, was associated with “Born for Hard Luck” an extraordinary documentary film portrayal of “Peg Leg Sam”. I contacted Mr. Lornell and he also has agreed to meet and share with us his vast experience on the field, and as a music scholar. We are currently working to schedule that interview as well into the production schedule for Black Fiddlers.


John J. Sullivan | Photo by Harry Taylor for the Paris Review

With the collaboration of John Sullivan and Kip Lornell, added to those of Rhiannon Giddens, Benjamin Hunter, Jacqueline Djedje and others already committed, Black Fiddlers rises to a new production level that will allow us to reach a much larger audience, while paying an honest and broader tribute to African American fiddlers of the past.

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