Participation Type


Session Title

Appalachian Arts in the Queen City

Session Abstract or Summary

Cincinnati has long been a hot bed for Appalachian Roots and Bluegrass music. Through dialogue and Q&A, we will explore cultural and artistic issues related to outmigration from Appalachia to the greater Cincinnati region and its influence on the local arts scene. This panel will shed light on perceptions of Appalachia in southwestern Ohio as well as issues around identity, authenticity and responsibilities of artists to the region. How do their mountain roots serve these artists and their audiences? In what ways has their performance been influenced by outmigration from Appalachia? How does culture in the greater Cincinnati area shape their art making it distinctive from music and storytelling that might be found within Appalachia? This will be an opportunity to engage with six stellar musicians and storytellers who work in greater Cincinnati and who are connected to the Appalachian region in diverse ways. Panelists bring a variety of perspectives including Omope Daboiku, a professional storyteller and educator raised in Ironton, OH, Jean Dowell, a songwriter with deep music roots in Union Grove, NC and Mike Oberst, a Folk-Americana musician inspired by the region who performs internationally. Panelists who are second or third generation Appalachians include Ma Crow, a leading voice in Bluegrass music in the area, Dale Farmer, Bluegrass and old-time multi-instrumentalist and independent film maker and Russ Childers, master traditional musician, storyteller and touring educator. These panelists will field questions to reveal a greater understanding of and appreciation for Appalachian performing arts beyond the official boundaries of Appalachia.

Presentation #1 Title

Appalachian Arts in the Queen City

Presentation #1 Abstract or Summary

See abstract for roundtable.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #1

Raised in Cincinnati and now a resident of Jackson County, NC, Susan shares song traditions that draw the listener into a scene where music is a part of daily life. She sings ballads and plays clawhammer and fretless mountain banjo, dulcimer, and guitar as well as pens new songs. Pepper has paternal roots in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #2

Ma Crow has fronted Cincinnati Bluegrass bands for the past several decades bringing the sounds of the mountains to audiences across the region. She has led Ma Crow and the Flock, Ma Crow and the Lady Slippers, and is also a member of Katie Laur’s All-Girl Bluegrass Band. Crow spent her childhood summers living with family back in East Tennessee, where her parents grew up.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #3

Omope Daboiku is an award winning teller of tales and educator whose performance is deeply inspired by her Appalachian Ohio upbringing and multicultural roots. She has performed nationally and internationally and is a regular teller for public libraries, museums, schools and other cultural organizations. She has been affiliated with the Ohio Arts Council as an Artist-in-Education since 1990 and was among the first artists chosen for the Cincinnati Arts Association’s “Artists on Tour” program.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #4

Jean Dowell was raised up in a musical family of singers and pickers in Union Grove, NC and moved to Cincinnati in the 1970s. She is a talented songwriter and singer and received acclaim for her recent CD release, which was produced by Mike Oberst.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #5

Russ Childers’ mastery of Appalachian music and storytelling springs from his Eastern Kentucky roots and time spent there with his grandparents. He performs Appalachian music programs for kids and adults as a solo performer, the husband-wife duo Bear Foot and with the award winning Rabbit Hash String Band. Through the Ohio Arts Council's Artist-in-Education program, he brings Appalachian music and culture to students across the state.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #6

Dale Farmer picked up his grandfather’s banjo as a boy and has been playing and performing ever since--from gospel bands in Nashville to Bluegrass and Old Time groups in Cincinnati including Jericho Old Time Band and the Back Porch Hounds. He is the writer and director of a new music film The Mountain Minor inspired by his family’s migration story from Eastern Kentucky across the Ohio.

Conference Subthemes

Migration, Diversity and Inclusion

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Appalachian Arts in the Queen City

See abstract for roundtable.