“I strongly believe every human can play, sing, and dance – it’s the most human thing.”
Banjo player, singer, songwriter, percussive-dancer, choreographer, and square-dance caller, Evie grew up steeped in traditional folk music/dance on the East Coast of the U.S, and tours internationally. Her performances, recordings, and teaching reconnect Appalachian music/dance with other African diaspora traditions.
Evie enjoys facilitating arts learning in diverse communities, always connecting the music with the dance, and educating people that in Appalachian culture and history lies the first syncretic “American” mix of white, black, and brown cultures that through adversity has yielded immeasurable art.
What led you to be a teaching artist?
I’ve always taught as a part of my performance career, often integrated with concert tours or music camps, at venues from elementary school residencies, to urban community centers, University seminars, to international conferences, to professional development for teachers.
As my career progressed, I took note that people are becoming less familiar with multi-generational arts experiences that traditional cultures have been perpetuating since the dawn of time, and becoming more isolated from one another. It became increasingly important to facilitate those experiences for others, in any environment I could, to prevent the sickness of loneliness that is prevalent in “developed” countries.
Passing on knowledge and tradition, and engaging people in non-verbal music and dance experience is essential for community and individual health. I attribute my teaching methods, in part, to growing up seeing my mom lead folk dance groups, in part to the fact that I learned music more through oral tradition than rote education, and fully that music and dance are always connected and not isolated skill sets.
There are vastly different ways of learning, and I enjoy finding various points of access for different students. It’s less about “success” and more about participating. The success is in the doing.