Jean Ritchie singing for inspiration….
Jean Ritchie is a legend in the Appalachians of the USA, a living treasury of the folk songs of Kentucky, her contribution both to American culture and her collecting of field recordings in Britain and Ireland in the 1950’s during her Fulbright scholarship makes her an important link in the musical chain across the western ocean.
Jean plays mountain dulcimer and Autoharp, she has a vast store of those old Protestant Hill Billy hymns beloved of performers like the Carter family and Johnny Cash. If you don’t know the genre , think of the sound track to “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” (the one with George Clooney in it).
This picture was taken in a tent during a session of shape note hymn singing in Cincinnati Ohio. Jean was performing in front of a very dirty tent, which made the original picture look like my camera was full of dust.
As she sang out in that little tent, a small marquee maybe 15 by 15 feet, maybe she could see the Appalachian mountains of her home state just across the Ohio River, did she get inspiration from the view or was it from a higher place?….