Tennessee Folklore Society Annual Meeting in Etowah, Tennessee


The Tennessee Folklore Society (TFS) annual meeting on Saturday, November 4 will feature traditional musicians Joseph Decosimo and Greg Brooks. The meeting, supported by funding from the Tennessee Arts Commission (TAC), will be held at The Gem Theater in Etowah. Members of Tellico Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) will play in the lobby during registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. The membership meeting follows at 10:00. The public is invited to attend any or all activities on the schedule.


Fiddler Greg Brooks’ presentation, which begins at 1:15 p.m. is titled “Allen Sisson: Copper Basin Fiddler,” and focuses on the first fiddler with Tennessee connections to make commercial recordings. Although Sisson lived in Fanin County, Georgia, he worked as a section hand railroad foreman for DSC&I mines across the state line in Copperhill. After gaining fame as the Champion Fiddler of Tennessee in 1921, Sisson recorded for the Edison Label in 1925. In recent years, Greg Brooks of Mineral Bluff, Georgia, has mastered Sisson’s unique tunes, as well as those of Tommy Magness. An active bluegrass fiddler, Brooks is keeping both historic hometown repertoires alive.


Joseph Decosimo will present “Rare and Beautiful Fiddle and Banjo Repertoire from East Tennessee” at 2:45 p.m. Many fine fiddlers and banjo players have called East Tennessee home through the years. Performer, researcher, and native East Tennessean Joseph Decosimo will share rare and beautiful pieces from the region’s banjo and fiddler traditions, some dating to the 19th century. For the last 25 years, Decosimo has researched and interpreted the region’s older tunes, befriending older musicians while studying field and commercial recordings. A blue-ribbon winning fiddler and banjo player, he has shared the region’s music at festivals around the world and holds a doctorate in American Studies.


Other presenters at the TFS annual meeting include TAC Director of Folklife Bradley Hanson and TAC Traditional Arts Specialist Evangeline Mee at 10:45 a.m., followed by Caroline Mitchell Carrico at 11:15. Mitchell will present an audio story titled “Bocce & the Memphis Italian Festival.” Bocce is a traditional Italian game which is a core part of the Memphis Italian Festival. Mitchell’s project was created as part of the Tennessee Folklife Institute, a program of TAC in partnership with Humanities Tennessee. At 2 p.m., Dr. Mark Jackson of Middle Tennessee State University will present “Poke Sallet: A Delicious and Dangerous Foodways.”


Visit www.tennesseefolklore.org for details.