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Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Southern West Virginians are being treated to a unique spoken word/Appalachian music performance by internationally known, award-winning poet Kirk Judd, entitled “My People Was Music” as part of the Appalachian Visions Series. The performance will be held on Thursday, March 29, at 7 pm at the John W. Eye Conference Center, corner of S. Kanawha and Church Streets in Beckley, and is free and open to the public. Accompanying Judd will be Danny Arthur and Tim Bing, who will perform traditional Appalachian mountain music. Judd, Arthur and Bing are native West Virginians who have collaborated to bring their individual concerts together in a performance concept drawing from and dedicated to the cultural heritage arts of Appalachia.

“Our work reflects the poet’s and musician’s love, appreciation, and connection to the people and the place of West Virginia,” states Judd. “Danny, Tim, and I have valued each other’s work over the years, so it only seems right that we would come together to join in the preservation and presentation of the oral legacy and traditional music of West Virginia.”

Their “My People Was Music” performance features traditional mountain music combined with spoken word original poetry, and focuses on like poems and tunes that create a emotional connection. Some of Judd’s poetry is performed alone, while other poems are performed to music. The juxtaposition of spoken word and melody draws their audience into the rhythm of language and expression of the music. Kirk, Danny, and Time emphasize the strong Appalachian sense of place, and their performance is a unique journey transporting the listener with them to that place.

Kirk Judd is a Morgantown resident, originally from Huntington. He is the author of two poetry collections, Field of Vision and Tao-Billy, and the co-editor with Dr. Barbara Smith of the widely acclaimed anthology Wild, Sweet Notes.

Judd has participated with other West Virginia artists, musicians and singers in a series of performances of Appalachian heritage arts in Ireland and Scotland, and his work was included in a South American cultural exchange, and was translated and performed on university campuses and in native villages in Brazil. His work is taught in major universities throughout Appalachia. Judd’s poetry deals with the Appalachian cultural experience, and the emotional and spiritual involvement of living day-to-day in our unique environment.

Danny Arthur resides in Barboursville, and has taught and performed at Appalshop, Augusta Heritage Workshops, the Vandalia Gathering, the Wheatland Music Festival, and in Ireland and Scotland.

Tim Bing is originally from Barboursville, and is widely recognized as one of the best old-time banjo players anywhere. He learned his craft first-hand from such legendary West Virginia greats as Frank George and Sherman Hammons. He has performed across the United States, Canada, Ireland, and Scotland.

For more than a decade, the Appalachian Visions series has worked to bring the best of regional scholarship and arts to southern West Virginia. The popularity of the series reflects not only its diversity—with programming drawn from Appalachia’s history, culture, literature, music, and traditional arts—but also its relaxed atmosphere that encourages broad participation and open discussion. All Appalachian Visions events are free and open to the public.

This project is being presented by Mountain State University ( and West Virginia Writers, Inc. ( with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this series do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Roslyn Artis, Mountain State University at 304.929.1375
Everett Lilly, Chair, Appalachian Visions at 304.929.1376