12 Jun Honor African American Contributions to Appalachian Music with Dr. Kathy Bullock
African American musical and cultural connections run deep in Appalachia and, as Dr. Kathy Bullock says, “it’s so important that we all are able to acknowledge and lift up the contributions that have helped make our culture what it is. We are all connected, and there is something healing about that concept.”
We’re excited to welcome Dr. Kathy to the Folk School again to teach “African American and Appalachian Musical Connections” from August 20-26, 2023. This popular class offers a deeper understanding of the many African American musical contributions to Appalachia, through study of historical context, music makers, and many genres of music. From vocal and instrumental songs to improvisation and more, get ready to sing, dance, and learn during this immersive exploration of rich and exciting traditions and styles.
Learn more about Dr. Kathy and her class in our interview below! Also watch her previous Morningsong videos to see her charismatic performances and get a taste of her teaching style. Interested in her class? Register today to secure your spot.
JCCFS: Tell us more about your upcoming music class, “African American and Appalachian Musical Connections.” What can students expect?
KB: We will immerse ourselves in the music, singing, playing, listening to, and moving to many different styles of music – all contributed by African American music culture and its performers. We’ll study the lives of influential music makers and learning music from genres including spirituals, ragtime, blues, and gospel.
Students will leave the class with a wealth of knowledge, and enhanced ways of listening to and acknowledging the contributions of African Americans to world culture.
JCCFS: Tell us a little more about yourself for those who are unfamiliar.
KB: I’m a Professor Emerita of Music from Berea College, where I taught for 30 years in the area of African American Music and theory. I’m particularly involved in research on African American Music and musicians and their influences in the area of Appalachian music.
Historically, too often, the role, impact, influence of African Americans in American music, in Appalachian music has been left out, removed or overlooked, and this work is an effort to bring forward and honor these contributions. I’ve done numerous workshops, videorecordings, interviews and presentations on African American music and culture in and of Appalachia, and I’m working on publications as well.
It’s so important that we all are able to acknowledge and lift up the contributions that have helped make our culture what it is. We are all connected, and there is something healing about that concept.
JCCFS: What is your favorite aspect of the John C. Campbell Folk School?
KB: My favorite aspect of the Folk School is getting to know the students and sharing and connecting. I’m inspired by creative people working together, by meeting and working with interested and engaged musicians sharing ideas, learning skills, and enjoying new memories.
JCCFS: Where can folks find you if they want to stay up to date on your work?
KB: My website is kathybullock.com.
Watch Dr. Kathy Bullock’s previous Morningsongs
Upcoming Class with Dr. Kathy Bullock
African American and Appalachian Musical Connections
August 20-26, 2023
African American musical and cultural connections run deep in Appalachia. Gain a better understanding of the many African American musical contributions while studying historical context and the lives of influential music makers and learning music from genres including spirituals, ragtime, blues, and gospel. From vocal and instrumental songs to improvisation and more, get ready to sing, dance, and learn during this immersive exploration of rich and exciting traditions and styles.
About Dr. Kathy Bullock
Dr. Kathy Bullock is professor emeritus of Berea College, after serving as music professor for almost thirty years. A scholar, teacher, performer, choral conductor, accompanist and arranger, she specializes in gospel music, spirituals, and classical music of the African diaspora. Dr. Bullock provides workshops and performances in African American sacred music throughout the United States, Europe, and Africa. Additionally, she has studied and presented workshops on African American and Appalachian Musical and Cultural Connections. Dr. Bullock earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in Music Theory from Washington, University, MO and a B.A. in Music from Brandeis University, MA and has performed and studied spirituals and gospel music for over fifty years. Awards/Honors include the Mary McGaw Endowed Professorship, the Seabury Teaching Award and Honorary Alumni Award from Berea College. She is currently teaching African American music at the University of Kentucky School of Music.