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National Heritage 



The National Endowment 

for the Arts 

Folk Arts Program 

The National Heritage 
Fellowships 1990 

The poet Jean Toomer once wrote of folk artists 
"making folk songs from soul sounds." All of the 
artists honored tonight in these National Heritage 
Fellowship ceremonies do the same: they make 
their folk art from the soul. 

The 1990 National Heritage Fellowships help 
bring to greater national attention the talent and 
diversity of some of America's best artists working 
in traditional styles and practices. These ceremo- 
nies and the presentation of the Fellowships 
celebrate the skills and excellence of each of these 
gifted artists. This occasion also underscores the 
Federal government's commitment to furthering 
the traditional arts and making them accessible 
to all. 

Thanks go to the Folk Arts Program and to the 
panelists who recommended this year's National 
Heritage Fellows, to our partners in the public and 
private sectors who helped make this concert and 
the related activities possible, and especially to 
the thirteen master artists who have put their soul 
into their work, enhancing and preserving 
America's traditional arts. 

John Frohnmayer 


National Endowment for the Arts 

The National Endowment for the Arts, through its 
Folk Arts Program, welcomes you to the 1990 
Heritage Fellowship celebration. This is the ninth 
such occasion and — as always — it is designed to 
be a joyous recognition of the creativity and 
diversity to be found amongst the traditional arts 
and artists of the United States. 

This year there are thirteen artists to be hon- 
ored from twelve states, speaking altogether more 
than eight languages. There are five musical 
instrumentalists, four crafts workers, two singers, 
four dancers, one poet, one story teller, and two 
orchestras. (The discrepancy in numbers is 
caused by the fact that so many traditional artists 
are actually multi-talented.) They come from 
Hawaii to the west and New Jersey to the east, 
from Puerto Rico to the south and Montana to the 
north. They have been nominated by their neigh- 
bors, by other artists, by scholars, by tribal or 
ethnic associations, and by ordinary citizens. 
Every one of them is an authentic and exquisitely 
skilled practitioner of an art form traditional to 
their own particular heritage, and every one of 
them has contributed something of especial value 
to that art form. 

The Folk Arts Program is proud to present once 
again to the American people a sampling of the 
remarkable and varied art forms that flourish 
between our borders. These art forms will con- 
tinue to thrive, even to grow and multiply, to the 
extent that they are supported, debated, dis- 
cussed, studied, and analyzed by all Americans, 
and to the extent that they are exemplified by such 
stunning artists as the National Heritage Fellows. 
Please join us in paying tribute to these remark- 
able exemplars. 

Ji^Vo (/Y^vv^eW* 

Bess Lomax Hawes 


Folk Arts Program 


The 1990 National Heritage Fellowships ceremo- 
nies were produced for the National Endowment 
for the Arts, Folk Arts Program by the National 
Council for the Traditional Arts. The ceremonies 
were planned and coordinated for NCTA by 
Nicholas Hawes and Camila Bryce-Laporte. 

NEA Folk Arts Program Staff 
Bess Lomax Hawes, Director 
Daniel Sheehy, Assistant Director 
Rose Morgan 
Pat Sanders 
Barry Bergey 
Terry Liu 
Pat Makell 

Heritage Fellowships Concert 

Murray Horwitz 
Master of Ceremonies 

Charles Kuralt 
Production Manager 

Tim Toothman 
Scenic Design Consultant 

Russell Metheny 
Lighting Designer 

Stefan Johnson 
Sound Design/Production 

Pete Reiniger 
Costume Coordinator 

Ellen Parker 
Slide Projection 

McGuire/Reeder, Ltd. 
Lisner Auditorium Stage Manager 

Phil Fox 

Table of Contents 

Howard Armstrong 4 

Afro-American String Band Musician 
Detroit, Michigan 

Em Bun 4 

Cambodian Silk Weaver 
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 

Natividad Cano 5 

Mexican Mariachi Musician 
Monterey Park, California 

Giuseppe and Raffaela DeFranco 7 

Southern Italian Musicians and Dancers 
Belleville, New Jersey 

Maude Kegg 7 

Ojibwe Storyteller/Craftswoman 

/Tradition Bearer 
Onamie, Minnesota 

Kevin Locke 8 

Lakota Flute Player/Singer/Dancer 

Mobridge, South Dakota 

Marie McDonald 9 

Hawaiian Lei Maker 
Kamuela, Hawaii 

Wallace McRae 10 

Cowboy Poet 
Forsyth, Montana 

Art Moilanen 11 

Finnish Accordionist 
Mass City, Michigan 

Emilio Rosado 12 

Utuado, Puerto Rico 

Robert Spicer 13 

Flatfoot Dancer 
Dickson, Tennessee 

Douglas Wallin 14 

Appalachian Ballad Singer 
Marshall, North Carolina 

1990 National Heritage 

Howard Armstrong 

Howard Armstrong was born in 1909 in Dayton, 
Tennessee, the middle son in a musically talented 
family of nine children. His father, also a musician, 
supported his family by working in the blast 
furnace section of a local steel mill, where he 
occasionally was invited to entertain the company 
executives. By Howard's tenth birthday, his father 
had taught him to play the mandolin and had 
whittled out a half-size fiddle for him with a 

Within five more years, Howard Armstrong had 
fully entered on a career as a professional musi- 
cian. He performed with three younger brothers, 
playing a wide variety of musical styles, before 
joining with Carl Martin to tour Virginia, West 
Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky. The duo 
played in bars and restaurants, at fish fries, at 
picnics, and in medicine shows throughout the 
industrial East, entertaining steel workers and 
miners from many ethnic groups. They developed 
an eclectic repertoire of blues and popular music 
of the day, picking up favorite songs from Italian, 
Spanish, German, and central European audiences, 
incidentally developing fluency in many different 
languages. Today, Howard Armstrong can commu- 
nicate effectively in at least eight languages, 
including German, Italian, Greek, Swedish, and 
Mandarin Chinese. 

For a few years, Armstrong attended Tennessee 
State Normal School as an arts student, playing 
cello in the symphony and fiddle in the jazz band 
while he studied painting and design. Later he set 
up his own sign studio, but he never ceased his 
life-long exploration of string music. During the 
1930's and 1940's, he formed various quartets and 
trios; during World War II, he worked in automo- 
bile plants and body shops in Detroit, until a foot 
injury put him onto the disability rolls. 

In 1972, he rejoined his old friends Carl Martin 
and guitarist Ted Bogan, with whom he toured as 
the "last of the black string bands: Martin, Bogan 
and Armstrong." They played all around the 
United States, as well as visiting Central and South 
America and many African nations. They worked 
together steadily until Martin passed away in 1979. 
Since that time Howard Armstrong has continued 
to play, sometimes with his sons or with other old 
friends. He has appeared at the Smithsonian 
Festival of American Folklife and the 1988 Festival 

of Michigan Folklife. He designed the "juke joint" 
scene that appeared in the film "The Color Purple," 
and his own life was the subject of a critically 
acclaimed documentary film, "Louie Bluie," 
released in 1985. 

Howard Armstrong remains faithful to his 
extraordinary repertoire of blues, Tin Pan Alley 
standards, old-country ditties from 19th century 
Europe, religious hymns, and country dance tunes, 
reflective of the remarkable reach of his long 
career and the wide-ranging musicality of the black 
string band tradition. For his versatility, his clean 
musicianship, his engaging personality, and his 
astute observation of the musical scene of this 
century, Howard Armstrong is a national treasure. 

Em Bun 

1 here are certain crafts which are essential if 
other associated traditions are to prosper. The 
making of music, for example, depends upon the 
making and repair of musical instruments. Less 
obvious is the critical role of skills such as weaving 
in cultures where dance, formal ceremony, and 
proper costumes mark vital episodes in life and 

Em Bun arrived in the United States as a refugee 
from Cambodia in 1980, along with her four 
daughters and two sons. Her maternal ancestors 
had always been considered the village weavers, 
and Em Bun learned to weave from her mother 
when she was about ten years old. She also 
learned to process the silk from cocoons raised on 
the family's farmlands. In the United States, 
however, she could no longer continue her former 
important, status-filled work as weaver, farmer, 
and merchant. With a language barrier inhibiting 
her ability to make new friends, she lapsed into 
isolation and depression. Her children report that 
the provision of a loom and weaving materials by a 
group of interested Pennsylvania women made Em 
Bun truly happy for the first time in nine years. 

Today Em Bun has been recognized as a master 
weaver by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. 
Grants from the Council have encouraged her 
daughters to study their mother's art. All her 
family now wear Em Bun's bright pure silk hand- 
woven sarong skirts to Cambodian weddings and 
celebrations. Cambodians in every community 
along the eastern seaboard are sending orders for 
their own two meter lengths of silk. She uses 


Howard Armstrong 

Photo by Bill Pierce 

Em Bun 
Photo © by Blair Seitz 

leftover silk thread from a men's tie factory in 
central Pennsylvania, anointing the materials as 
she weaves with tapioca and coconut oil to 
provide the unparalleled luster and sheen of true 
Cambodian silk. 

One Cambodian woman has moved in across 
the street from Em Bun's home so that she can be 
near enough to be involved in every aspect of silk 
weaving. The rhythmic clatter of the beater and 
the treadles resound throughout the house. 
Usually it is Em Bun herself at the loom, as she 
does not believe her apprentices can yet produce 
work that cannot be detected from her own. 
Indeed, her talented daughter Pech does not 
believe she will ever be as good a weaver as her 
mother because the sound the beater makes when 
her mother is weaving is so different from hers. 
There is much still to be learned about the dyeing 
of the silk, the winding of the raw silk into cones, 
and the dressing of the warp with its 3,500 single 
threads. Each of the apprentices has specialized in 
one part of the elaborate series of skills that make 
up Cambodian weaving as a master craft. 

The subtlety of a master Cambodian weaver is 
expressed in the basic decisions of which colors 
enhance others. Although Em Bun's work appears 
to be mostly solid colors, close examination 
reveals that the warp threads differ from the weft 
threads that cross, producing unusual and shim- 
mering hues. Em Bun's exquisite and sensitive 
work has helped her continue to serve as the 
"village weaver," although her village now is 
nationwide. As such, she has helped keep her 
fellow Cambodians in touch with their heritage 
and produced another stream of beauty in which 
her new friends in the United States can also 
refresh their spirits. 

Natmdad Cano 

There is no music more widely evocative of 
Mexican identity than that traditionally associated 
with the ensemble known as mariachi. The unique 
and versatile instrumentation of guitarron (bass 
guitar), vihuela (small rhythm guitar), violins, and 
trumpets allows this group to perform a wide 
variety of music, from the most traditional sones 
(dance pieces) to the latest Latin pop tunes. The 
mariachi's early beginnings are rooted in the rich 
heritage of string instruments brought from Spain 
in the 16th and 17th centuries. It took its current 


Natividad Cano 

Photo © by Gerard Burkhardt 


Giuseppe and Raffaela DeFranco 
Photo by Martin Koenig, 
Ethnic Folk Arts Center 

form in the 19th and 20th centuries through the 
musical creations of the farmers, ranchers, and 
jomaleros (day laborers) in and around the west 
Mexican state of Jalisco and its capital city 

Natividad Cano was born in 1933 into a family of 
jornaleros who lived near Guadalajara in the 
village of Ahuisculco, Jalisco. His grandfather 
Catarino Cano was a self-taught guitarron player, 
and his father Sotero Cano was a versatile musi- 
cian who was skilled at playing all the mariachi 
string instruments. In 1939 Natividad's father 
began teaching the six-year-old to play the vihuela; 
two years later, "Nati" was enrolled at the 
Academia de Music in Guadalajara to study the 
violin. After six years, he left the academy and 
joined his father, supporting the family by playing 
in the local cantinas and cafes. 

In 1950, Nati persuaded his father to let him 
travel to the border town of Mexicali to join the 
Mariachi Chapala. "I have to follow my dreams," he 
told him. Though the youngest musician in the 
group by at least ten years, Nati soon became the 
mariachi's musical arranger. He stayed with 
Mariachi Chapala for seven years before emigrat- 
ing in 1960 to Los Angeles. There he joined 
Mariachi Aguila, the house mariachi at the famous 
Million Dollar Theatre, a major stopping point on 
the Mexican professional music circuit. Upon the 
death of the group's director, Jose Frias, Nati 
became the new leader and renamed the group 
"Los Camperos" ("The Countrymen"), the name it 
has born to this day. 

After spending several years touring throughout 
the United States, Cano and the original six 
members of Los Camperos settled in Los Angeles 
in 1967 and opened La Fonda restaurant, at which 
they have performed five nights a week ever since. 
La Fonda soon gained a reputation as an important 
center of Mexican culture in Los Angeles. For Nati, 
the restaurant became the medium through which 
he accomplished his personal mission of maintain- 
ing high artistic standards while enhancing public 
awareness of the mariachi tradition. 

Over the past decade, Nati has increasingly 
devoted himself to sharing his musical knowledge 
with young people and to the cultivation of greater 
public understanding and respect for the music to 
which he has devoted his life. In Los Angeles, he 
has initiated "mariachi-in-education" programs at 
public schools, lent his name, expertise, and 
resources to the Hispanic Women's Council's 

"Nati Cano Cultural Arts Awards" in the Latin 
performing arts, and donated his time at numerous 
concerts to benefit the Mexican community. At the 
national level, he has been a major figure as 
teacher, performer, competition judge, and 
benefactor in the growing number of mariachi 
festivals throughout the Southwest. Through his 
steadfast devotion to and love for mariachi music, 
Natividad Cano has helped to ensure the contin- 
ued vitality and integrity of this important 
Mexican-American music tradition. 

Giuseppe and Raffaela 

The DeFranco family immigrated to the United 
States in 1968, finally settling in Belleville, New 
Jersey near many of their relatives and neighbors 
from the old country. They came originally from 
the mountain town of Acri, in the Cosenza Prov- 
ince in Calabria, the southernmost region of 
continental Italy, where the tarantella was known 
and enjoyed even in antiquity. 

Mr. DeFranco began working as a shepherd at 
the age of eight and taught his pet goat, Sisina, to 
dance to the music of the cane flutes he made and 
decorated. Later he learned the chitarra battente 
(rhythm guitar) with which he serenaded his wife 
Raffaela, and although he does not consider 
himself a singer, he composed several very moving 
love songs to her while they were courting. Today 
he is master of the organetto, a small button 
accordion popular in southern Italy; sometimes he 
dances the tarantella with Raffaela while simulta- 
neously playing the organetto. He also plays the 
ciaramella, or wooden oboe, as well as the 
zampogna (bagpipes). He has taught his son, 
Faust, to play the accordion, the tambourine, the 
triccaballacca (a wooden percussive instrument), 
and the harmonica. The DeFrancos are often 
joined in concert by their son and by their long- 
time friend Franco Cofone, an excellent tambou- 
rine player and singer. 

Raffaela DeFranco is a remarkable singer with 
an extensive repertoire of serenades, tarantella 
verses, religious songs, love songs, and lullabies. 
She sings in the high-pitched throaty voice typical 
of southern Italy; she is also proficient in the 
villanella, the Calabrian choral singing style of 
which she knows several of the special vocal parts 

and many beautiful texts and tunes. Her music has 
been much influenced by that of the Albanian 
women from nearby villages whose songs she 
heard when she went out to do day labor in the 
olive groves and wheat fields. A tarantella verse 
from Raffaela's enormous repertoire says: 

And she circled and she turned 

and I saw she was alone 
And she circled and she twisted 

and I saw she was escorted 
And she turned another way, 

she was a rose in bloom. 

Perhaps the most important feature of the 
DeFrancos is their self-conscious and dedicated 
devotion to their traditions. They believe in the 
vitality, the excellence, the all-around virtue of 
their music and their dance; they lose no opportu- 
nity to advance their cause. It is important to 
realize that they carry on their art against a 
continuing drum beat of mild but consistent 
disapproval from some of the more conventional 
parts of the Italian-American community, who fear 
they may present a picture of Italian-Americans as 
backward or countrified. 

But the DeFrancos continue their devotion to 
the courageous, life-enhancing, life-affirming 
repertoire of their ancestors. They perform with 
Calabria Bella, a group of Calabrian musicians from 
Rhode Island, in addition to actively seeking out 
other traditional Italian-American artists and 
encouraging them to remember and to share their 
traditional culture, regardless of their region of 
origin. As scholars, practitioners, and savants of 
the exceptional folk traditions of southern Italy, 
Raffaela and Giuseppe DeFranco well deserve the 
gratitude of their people and their nation. 

Maude Kegg 

Maude Kegg, an eminent craftsworker and 
storyteller of the Ojibwe people, was born in a 
bark and cattail mat wigwam in northern Minne- 
sota. She was brought up by her maternal grand- 
mother, a traditionalist who taught her little 
granddaughter the things she should know of her 
people and their long history — the language, the 
myths and tales, the customary beliefs, the 
traditional skills. Maude Kegg's mother died in 
childbirth; her grandmother was never quite sure 
about the date, so the little girl had to choose her 

own birthday. "I was born on land my grand- 
mother homesteaded near Portage Lake," she says 
now. "I always heard it was riceing time on the 
lake, so I picked August 26th (the harvest season)." 

It was a choice that fit exactly into Maude 
Kegg's future life style, for she has spent her long 
career — she is now eighty-six years old — following 
the ways of her people and sharing them with 
others. She has written three books on the Ojibwe 
(sometimes called Chippewa) people: When I was 
a Little Girl, published in 1976, At the End of the 
Trail (1978), and What My Grandmother Told Me 
(1983). She has contributed language data and 
special Ojibwe terms to scholars of the language. 
Throughout her lifetime, she has explained and 
demonstrated the agricultural techniques tradi- 
tional to the Ojibwe, such as maple sugaring and 
their special methods of harvesting and process- 
ing the wild rice that grows in the northern lake 

In addition to her exceptional store of tradi- 
tional Ojibwe tales and legends, Maude Kegg is 
perhaps best known for the beauty and elegance of 
her bead work. She is a master of Ojibwe floral 
designs and geometric loom beadwork techniques. 
She is one of the very few Ojibwe still competent to 
produce a fully beaded traditional bandolier bag, a 
symbol of prestige and leadership once commonly 
worn by tribal leaders. 

A number of years ago, she and two others 
completely constructed the large diorama of the 
seasonal life of the Ojibwe on display in the 
Minnesota State Historical Society Indian Museum 
at Mille Lacs, making every artifact included in the 
exhibit. Since that time she has worked as a staff 
member of the Museum and often acts as a docent, 
taking parties of school children and other visitors 
through the exhibit. Several of her pieces grace the 
Ojibwe craft collection at the Smithsonian Institu- 
tion and a Maude Kegg beaded bandolier formed a 
centerpiece for the important American Federation 
of Arts' traveling exhibit, "Lost and Found Tradi- 
tions: Native American Art 1965-1985," curated by 
Ralph Coe. Mr. Coe writes, "As an influence upon 
and teacher of the young, as an example to follow 
and emulate, as both preserver and extender of 
the correct interpretation of the Ojibwe way, 
Maude Kegg has made a major contribution to 
Great Lakes Native culture ... I am grateful for this 
opportunity to write on behalf of a notable North 
American." In 1986 Governor Rudy Perpich of the 
State of Minnesota proclaimed August 24th of that 

year to be "Mrs. Maude Kegg Day" in tribute to 
"her many years of knowledge, wisdom, and efforts 
in the preservation of Ojibwe culture and lan- 

Kevin Locke 

There is a difference between events that survive 
only inside history books or in paintings and those 
that still persist in living memory. Archaeologists 
can replicate stone points for spears and arrows, 
but they cannot tell us how or when or why they 
were thrown, nor the dreams that flew along with 
them. That knowledge is forever gone. 

The world has come very close to losing 
completely an exquisite musical tradition: the 
Plains and Woodland courting flute. A Lakota Sioux 
traditionalist writes: "All of us who love our Lakota 
culture were saddened when we realized in the 
60's that the music of our Lakota flute was gone . . . 
that this instrument paying homage to woman- 
hood was stilled. I cannot express the enormity of 
the loss that we oldtimers felt when we realized 
that the last of the flute players had died without 
teaching the songs and technical artistry to 
anyone in the next generation." 

Fortunately, a number of young Indian musi- 
cians were determined to do what could still be 
done to recapture the art form before it faded 
entirely from human memory. The Comanche 
painter and musician Joyce Doc Tate Nevaquaya 
(recipient of a Heritage Fellowship in 1986), Kiowa/ 
Comanche Tom Mauchahty Ware, and a few other 
pioneers of this movement began their urgent 
research during the 1970's and 1980's. Especially 
prominent in this movement — in part because of 
the exceptional development and extensive 
repertoire of the Lakota instrument itself, and in 
part because of his personal longstanding commit- 
ment to traditional Plains Indian art and philoso- 
phy — was Kevin Locke, a Hunkpapa Sioux of the 
Standing Rock Reservation currently residing in 
Mobridge, South Dakota. 

Kevin Locke lived as a young man with an 
elderly uncle who spoke only Lakota; from him he 
learned both the language and the traditions of his 
culture. He learned many of the numerous Sioux 
courting songs and flute melodies from those who 
could still remember them and sing them, includ- 
ing Noah Has Horns, Ben Black Bear, and William 
Horncloud. Today, he continues to regard himself 


Maud Kegg 

Photo courtesy of the 

Minnesota Historical Society 


Kevin Locke 

Photo by Dan Koeck, 

Minot Daily News, Minot, North Dakota 

as a preservationist of the music rather than a 
stylist or composer of songs. The old people say 
he is better than the others they remember. 

Kevin Locke not only performs and lectures in 
schools all across the Plains States, he has toured 
the world, appearing in Canada, China, Spain, and 
Australia, as well as on tours of African nations 
sponsored by the State Department. In addition to 
the courting flute, he sometimes demonstrates the 
Plains hoop dance, another ancient and honorable 
Sioux tradition. The dance explicates the Plains 
Indian world view as the hoops intersect and grow 
into ever more complex shapes, always and 
forever returning to the beginning. This articulate 
and thoughtful artist always tries to bridge the gap 
between Indian and non-Indian cultures, to bring 
his audience into the circle of the Lakota Sioux 
vision. His nomination for a National Heritage 
Fellowship was supported by his own tribal 
council, the elders of his community, the faculty of 
the University of South Dakota (where he is 
pursuing a Ph.D. in Education), and the South 
Dakota Arts Council — a remarkable grouping of 
sponsors that attests to generosity and breadth of 
Kevin Locke's art. 

Marie McDonald 

Marie McDonald spent most of her childhood on 
the rural island of Molokai in the Hawaiian chain. 
She is descended from two great traditions: on her 
mother's side, the Mahoe line of Hawaiian chiefs, 
and on her father's side, the distinguished Adams 
family of New England. She journeyed to Texas for 
her advanced education, earning a degree in art 
from Texas Women's University; since then, she 
has lived in Hawaii, where she taught art and 
Hawaiian Studies for many years in the public 
schools and where she now owns and operates the 
Honopua Flower Growers in Waimea, on the big 
island of Hawaii. 

Marie McDonald is not only the best known 
practitioner on the islands of the art of Hawaiian 
lei making, she is also its primary scholar. Her 
research and documentation of the tradition in her 
significant and lovely book, Ka Lei — the Leis of 
Hawaii (Press Pacifica, 1985), is the authoritative 
source on the topic. Even more recently, she 
conducted field research on lei traditions associ- 
ated with Hawaiian ranching, finally locating a lei 
maker on Maui who could tell her about the leis 



Marie McDonald 

Photo courtesy of Smithsonian 


Wallace McRae 
Photo by Michael Korn 

formerly made of sisal fiber scraps — the lei malino. 
At her own ranch on the Big Island, she experi- 
ments regularly with the raising of older plants and 
flowers. Today, almost every lei stand includes the 
subtler traditional leis researched by Mrs. 
McDonald alongside those made from the more 
recently introduced flowers such as orchids, 
carnations, and plumeria. 

Marie McDonald not only constructs beauty 
with her experienced hands and eyes, she speaks 
of her fragile art form with enormous eloquence. 
"Why must visual beauty last forever?" she writes. 
"What is wrong with short-lived beauty? Is it less 
beautiful than any other kind of beauty?" She 
points out that the moment of giving is the mo- 
ment of love; the lei offered must then be at its 
peak of beauty, so that both giver and receiver 
experience that moment of shared love at its 
fullest. She speaks of leis as exemplifying arms 
entwined about another person's neck — mother 
and child, lover and beloved, friend and friend. 

It is known that all peoples in all historical times 
have enveloped their bodies with decoration. In 
some fortunate parts of the world this universal 
impulse has reached special heights. The sweet 
ginger necklaces of the wet forests and the fragile 
pupu shell leis of the arid island of Niihau are only 
part of the dazzling displays of color, fragrance, 
and sculptural charm for which the Hawaiian 
Islands are known around the world — a treasured 
tradition that Marie McDonald has both guarded 
and enhanced. 

Wallace McRae 

Wallace McRae, the cowboy poet, is a third 
generation rancher from the Rosebud Creek area 
near Colstrip, Montana in the southeastern part of 
the state. His family's ranch is bordered on the 
east by the Tongue River and lies just north of the 
Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation. Both of his 
parents were born and raised on Rosebud Creek, 
and his family has run sheep and cattle in these 
parts since 1885. 

Mr. McRae is a working cowboy and a working 
rancher. Born in 1936, he attended college at 
Montana State University, where he received a 
Bachelor of Science degree in zoology. In 1958, he 
was commissioned as a Naval Officer and served in 
the Atlantic and Mediterranean Fleets. After his 
father died in 1960, he returned to Montana with 

his wife, Ruth Hayes; they have three children and 
continue to live on Rosebud Creek in the vicinity of 
the old family ranch. 

The men and women who prospected, farmed, 
mined, fished, hauled, hunted, built, explored, and 
ranched across the North American continent 
during the nineteenth century were not simply 
people of action — they were also people of words. 
They left records behind them: diaries, letters, 
journals, and even such fripperies as new words to 
old tunes. They especially often left poetry. Indeed, 
as settlements built up in the wake of their explor- 
atory adventures, a tradition of public recitations 
sprang up, featuring narrative poems that re- 
counted great adventures and comic events. Soon 
a new "frontier" style of poetry began to emerge 
from the pens of writers like Robert W. Service and 
from the imaginations of working cowboys and 
ranchers. Wallace McRae was born into such a 
poetic tradition: his first public recitation was a 
"Christmas piece," delivered at the local one-room 
schoolhouse that his sisters attended when he was 
four years old. 

Since then, Mr. McRae has written more than 
100 poems, among them the enormously success- 
ful "Reincarnation," a poem destined to outlive 
him — even in his lifetime it has passed into the 
oral repertoire and is recited by cowboys who 
never met the author. His poems have also been 
circulated through his three books, It's Just Grass 
and Water, Up North is Down the Crick, and Things 
of Intrinsic Worth. Like the tradition he honors, he 
has written not only on humorous and romantic 
topics but on matters of public concern as well, 
such as the need for environmental protection and 
the effects of strip mining in the West. Another 
group of poems such as "A Conversation with 
Albert" deal with his neighbors the Cheyennes. 

Some National Heritage Fellows are honored 
because they have preserved for the nation an 
ancient traditional repertoire. Wallace McRae has 
preserved an ancient traditional artistic practice: 
the writing of narrative poetry detailing the 
problems and issues of a particular time in unfor- 
gettable language and memorable forms. Through 
his work, we can continue to thrill to the spoken 
word — the impact of the genuine oral tradition, 
where gifted poets speak a community's truth 
back to the people themselves for their further 
consideration, for their greater understanding, and 
for their inspiration. 


Art Moilanen 

Art Moilanen was born in 1916. His parents came 
from northern Finland early in the twentieth 
century as part of that era's enormous immigra- 
tion of more than 300,000 Finns to the mines, mills, 
and factories of the United States. Half that num- 
ber eventually arrived in the western Great Lakes 
region, particularly in Minnesota's Mesabi Iron 
Range and the Michigan "Copper Country." In July 
1913, the Western Federation of Miners called a 
strike for a shorter work day and higher wages 
against Upper Michigan's mining companies. 
Although supported strongly by the local Finnish 
population, the strike was bitter, violent, and 
unsuccessful. At its close, along with other Finnish 
families, the Moilanens moved to the region near 
Mass City, Michigan, where they farmed and 
worked in the woods. That is where Art Moilanen 
grew up and where he still lives. It was, and is, a 
marginally logging area: "I grew up with sawdust in 
my ears," he says now. 

But there was music in his ears as well. Art 
learned harmonica as a boy, graduating later to 
button accordion and later still to the larger and 
more showy piano accordion he now plays. He 
learned Finnish tunes from recordings, touring 
performers, and from the singing of neighboring 
lumberjacks and miners, and by his teens he was 
playing for dances. After serving in the Air Force 
for four years during World War II, Art returned to 
Michigan to form his own logging crews in the 
White Pine papermill district. In 1965, he decided 
to retire from logging and bought a tavern near 
Mass City where, as he remembers it, there was 
"dancing three, four nights a week, sometimes all 
day and night long — it was just packed all the 
time." At the age of sixty he retired again and 
purchased "Art's Bar" in nearby Mass City, along 
with an adjacent motel catering to hunters and 
maintenance crews. He ran the two establishments 
until a few years ago, when he sold out and made a 
third attempt to retire. 

It is difficult, though, to tell just how well he has 
succeeded. He continues to play music for dances 
with great regularity, performing always to packed 
houses. As Dr. Michael Loukinen of Northern 
Michigan University, a well-known scholar of 
Finnish traditions, points out: "The last time Art 
retired, he had so many requests to play at 
weddings and parties that he had to retire from 


Art Moilanen 

Photo by Alan Kamuda 

Courtesy of Michigan Traditional Arts Program, 

Michigan State University Museum 


Emilio Rosado 

Photo by Walter Murray Chiesa 


retirement and try to find relaxation by working 
full time." Among other options to fill his time, he 
continues to teach younger accordionists on a 
regular basis, insisting always that they include the 
folk melodies of the Scandinavian immigrants in 
their repertoires. 

Art Moilanen has taken on a role of great 
importance in the northern European immigrant 
communities around the Great Lakes, maintaining, 
displaying, and rejoicing in the sturdy musical 
tradition of waltzes, polkas, schottisches, and 
other folk dances of Scandinavia, especially 
Finland. His work is rooted firmly in the best of this 
tradition. He stands on the same floor level as his 
audiences and wears everyday clothes, "just like 
everybody else." Although his repertoire is 
classically Finnish, he also chooses music from 
others of his neighbors, including country and 
western players. A fine instrumentalist of great 
virtuosity and skill, he thinks more about what he 
plays than how brilliantly he plays it, for he is 
concerned with inclusion; his tradition might be 
called ethnic-American-regional-working-class 
dance music, or perhaps, simply "people's music." 
At an Art Moilanen dance, the people will be out 
there dancing. 

Emilio Rosado 

Don Emilio Rosado was born in the municipality 
of Utuado on the island of Puerto Rico in 1911. 
They say that the moment he was born, all the 
neighborhood roosters began to crow, and they 
crowed on and on until they became hoarse, 
honoring the infant who was to become the 
greatest bird carver in Puerto Rican history. 

Don Emilio comes from a family of carvers. His 
grandfather's brother, Tacio Ponce, carved oxen 
yokes and machete handles for a living and 
walking sticks as a hobby. His father carved all the 
handles for his tools, and his brother carved as 
well. Don Emilio himself began carving around the 
age of fourteen, mostly small animals or balls to 
play with; sometimes when he was learning, he 
would carve on a soft sweet potato until he 
mastered the form he wanted. His first sale 
brought $5.00 for a dove. 

But it was when he turned to the carving of 
roosters that he began to establish his importance 
as a major Puerto Rican craftsman. He has carved 
literally thousands of the birds since that time, and 

an Emilio Rosado rooster carving is immediately 
identifiable to the experienced eye. The eminent 
authority on Puerto Rican crafts, Walter Murray 
Chiesa, points out that although Don Emilio carves 
santos such as the Three Kings, wooden machetes, 
and small barnyard animal figures, it is when he 
carves his favorite roosters that he truly comes 
into his own. He raises the birds himself and loves 
to talk abut the different varieties of rooster, their 
varied shapes, colors, tail feathers, and the angle 
of beak and comb. Occasionally he will have one of 
his sons hold a bird in his hand so that he can 
study its special qualities as he carves. In the end, 
he will have not an exact copy, but a representa- 
tion of a particular bird seen through the eyes of 
an artist. 

Don Emilio's birds are carved from a single 
piece of cedar, sometimes mounted on a separate 
piece of wood that serves as a base, sometimes 
free standing. Each shows the long free swoop of 
line from the bird's crest through to the tip of the 
tail feathers that is so characteristic of his work. 
The Institute of Puerto Rican culture owns a 
collection of at least forty of Don Emilio's carved 
cocks; the Institute has invited him to join their 
sculpture division, but he prefers to remain an 
independent artisan working among his beloved 
roosters in his home town of Utuado. His work- 
shop smells enchantingly of cedar. "Cedar," 
according to Don Emilio, "is a special wood with a 
special story. When you cut down a cedar tree 
there is always a small hollow inside; that is where 
the Blessed Virgin hid on the flight from Egypt. 
And that is why cedar smells so wonderfully good 

It is rare that an important symbol can be 
traced to the work of a living individual artist. 
According to Walter Murray Chiesa, the objects 
most widely recognized as symbolic of Puerto 
Rican culture are the carnival masks of Ponce, the 
indigenous stringed instrument the cuatro, and the 
carved roosters of Don Emilio Rosado. In 1982, he 
was designated "Master Craftsman of the Year" by 
the Government of Puerto Rico; in his own person- 
age, he has become symbolic of the craft and folk 
heritage of his beautiful island. 

Robert Spicer 

Robert Spicer was born in Dickson County, 
Tennessee, in 1921, the youngest of nine children. 

He has lived in the area ever since. His lifetime 
pursuit of flatfoot or buck dancing began when he 
was seven years old and visiting the nearby town 
of Charlotte with his mother. He can remember the 
moment to this day: "I seen a black man dancing 
on the bed of a two-horse wagon. I just stood there 
eating an ice cream cone and watched how he was 
doing it and listened to the rhythm he was making. 
I decided that I was gonna learn to do that . . ." 
Apparently, the little boy never looked back. 

The dance style that so fascinated Mr. Spicer 
undoubtedly originated in Africa, where ground- 
hugging, improvised dancing still thrives. In the 
United States, these relaxed, subtle African styles 
combined easily with articulated Celtic foot- 
stepping to produce American flatfooting, a dance 
that is widespread today throughout the South on 
both sides of the color line. Flatfoot is an impro- 
vised solo dance, characterized by fast percussive 
footwork that stays close to the floor and often 
duplicates the rhythm of the accompanying 
instruments. The feet seem to be used "all of a 
piece," the body is erect but not stiff, the arms 
move gently in response to the need for balance. 
Any kind of showy athleticism — jumping, leaping, 
high kicking — is inappropriate; the dancers strive 
for economy, neatness and simplicity of move- 
ment, and always for rhythmic precision of the 
highest order. 

Flatfoot dancing is also called rhythmic buck 
dancing. The origin of the latter name is still 
mysterious. Older black dancers sometimes say 
that there were 37 named steps in a complete buck 
dance, steps that mimed the entire life cycle of the 
black man. Mr. Spicer knows a few named steps — 
"Cutting the Grass," "Shining your Shoes," "Rock 
the Cradle," "The Wing," "The Old Time Double 
Back Step." Accompaniment is an important part 
of the dance. Lacking instruments, Mr. Spicer claps 
for his dancers or plays the spoons, each instru- 
ment beat to be echoed by a foot sound. Essen- 
tially he provides what some call a "juba" rhythm, 
a black contribution in which the hands clap twice 
on the upbeat and the foot stamps once on the 
downbeat. Like black gospel singers who clap in 
parts, producing bass, baritone, and treble pitches 
in their clapping, Mr. Spicer "tunes" his claps to 
correspond to the musical effects produced by the 
dancer he is accompanying. 

For Robert Spicer is above all a consummate 
teacher. He has won many flatfoot contests during 
his lifetime, he has learned to call squares from his 



Robert Spicer 

Photo by Jacky R. Christian, courtesy of the 

Old-Time Music & Dance Foundation. 


Doug Wallin 

Photo by Jeffrey Smith, 

The News Record, Marshall, North Carolina 


former neighbor, Fiddling Arthur Smith, and he has 
supplemented his income by working as a profes- 
sional dance caller and dance organizer at musical 
clubs throughout Tennessee. But most of all, he 
has taught in the old-fashioned way, setting up the 
right atmosphere, the proper surroundings for 
flatfoot dancing, in public parks and community 
centers across middle Tennessee. Day after day he 
meets prospective students, providing what 
Tennessee Folk Arts Coordinator Roby Cogswell 
calls "immersion in customary example" and 
endless practice for his neophytes. Mr. Spicer 
provides sensitive accompaniment with his 
deceptively simple hand claps, along with positive 
or negative reactions and patient reassurance. He 
also helps his dancers move into showier venues 
of public presentation, although he continues to 
oppose the mechanized precision clogging rou- 
tines of public square dance troupes. 

Robert Spicer has led the way in preserving the 
earliest dance styles of Tennessee's black and 
white settlers. He is a local as well as a national 

Douglas Wallin 

There are people who say that Doug Wallin is 
quite simply the finest living singer of 
unaccompanied British ballads in southern 
Appalachia. It is a tradition that runs in his family: 
he learned most of his songs from his mother and 
father, the late Berzilla and Lee Wallin, from his 
uncle Cas Wallin, and from other friends and 
neighbors in Madison County, North Carolina. 

Berzilla Wallin used to speak of the visit of the 
world-famous English ballad collector Cecil Sharp 
some seventy-five years ago. She remembered it 
plain as day, and apparently the visit impressed 
the scholar as well. He described the Sodom- 
Laurel section of Madison County where the Wallin 
family lived as "a community in which singing was 
as common and almost as universal a practice as 
speaking." Indeed some years ago, the Folk Arts 
Program at the National Endowment for the Arts 
received a nomination recommending that the 
entire population of the Sodom-Laurel area receive 
a single National Heritage award, since it was so 
obviously a local tradition held in trust by all the 

It was later determined that such a nomination 
was not legally practical — an individual, such as 

Doug Wallin, must stand as representative of the 
entire community. Actually, this is very fitting for 
the repertoire itself, since the surviving ancient 
British ballads in this country are always sung as 
solo accounts of long ago, although they have 
been edited in the subtlest of way by the hundreds 
of voices and minds that have passed them along. 

It is a rare experience to hear an unaccompa- 
nied song, much less a ballad or story song. The 
singer has so little to work with: a simple, usually 
four-line rhyming stanza with an occasional brief 
refrain; a brief melody that repeats with each 
verse; some powerful and evocative tales that 
touch the main themes of love, death, betrayal, 
and loss that so excite that European listener; the 
refined and knowing use of poetic repetition and 
subtly shifting stresses. But a well-sung ballad — 
one of the great ones — by an experienced singer 
can, as one listener put it, "lift the hair right off 
your head." 

Doug Wallin is such a singer. He is a quiet and 
modest man who not only sings the songs, but also 
tells the stories. And he is also a fine fiddle player. 
He has looked into the scholarship about his 
tradition as well, and he prides himself on the 
completeness and complexity of his repertoire. In 
1988, the Governor of North Carolina announced a 
program of North Carolina Folk Heritage Awards to 
bring public recognition to "our native sons and 
daughters who perform the traditional arts of 
North Carolina with great distinction and skill." 
Doug Wallin was one of the first North Carolina 
artists so honored. 


The 1990 NEA National Heritage Fellowships 
concert and related activities were planned and 
coordinated with the assistance of the National 
Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), a private 
non-profit corporation founded in 1933 and 
dedicated to the presentation and documentation 
of folk and traditional arts in the United States. The 
NEA would like to thank NCTA, the Philip F. Schoch 
Bequest, the Joseph Martinson Memorial Fund, 
and Northwest Airlines for their assistance in the 
presentation of these fellowships. The Folk Arts 
Program would like to express gratitude to every- 
one involved, with special thanks to: 

Chris Ballentine 

Anna Chairetakis 

Jacky R. Christian 

Roby Cogswell 

Meg Glaser 

Sherman Holbert 

George Holt 

Sharon Koenig 

Kara Larson 

Barbara Lau 

Jim Leary 

Yvonne Lockwood 

Michael Loukinen 

Rick Luftglass, Ethnic Folk Arts Center 

Lynn Martin 

Minnesota Historical Society 

Nina Archabal 

Andrea Mugnier 

Tim O'Donald 
Walter Murray Chiesa 
National Geographic Society 
John Nichols 
Jeff Place 
Amy Skillman 
Donald and Joyce Wedll 
Joseph T. Wilson 
Tony Ziselberger 


The National Heritage 
Fellows 1982-1989 

Dewey Balfa 

Cajun Fiddler 
Basile, LA 

Joe Heaney* 

Irish Singer 
Brooklyn, NY 

Tommy Jarrell* 

Mt. Airy, NC 

Bessie Jones* 

Georgia Sea 
Island Singer 
Brunswick, GA 

George Lopez 

Cordova, NM 

Brownie McGhee 

Blues Guitarist 
Oakland, CA 

Hugh McGraw 

Shape Note 
Bremen, GA 

Lydia Mendoza 

American Singer 
Houston, TX 

Bill Monroe 

Nashville, TN 

Elijah Pierce* 

Columbus, OH 

Adam Popovich 

Dolton, IL 


Osage Ribbon- 
Bartlesville, OK 

Duff Severe 

Saddle Maker 
Pendleton, OR 

Philip Simmons 

Charleston, SC 

Sanders "Sonny" 

Blues Musician 
Holliswood, NY 

Sister Mildred 

Shaker Singer 
Poland Springs, 

Rafael Cepeda 

Bomba Musician/ 
Santurce, PR 

Ray Hicks 

Banner Elk, NC 

Stanley Hicks* 

Vilas, NC 

John Lee Hooker 

Blues Guitarist/ 


San Carlos, CA 

Mike Manteo* 

Staten Island, NY 

Narciso Martinez 

San Benito, TX 

Lanier Meaders 

Cleveland, GA 

Almeda Riddle* 

Ballad Singer 
Greers Eerry, AR 

Simon St. Pierre 



Smyrna Mills, ME 

Joe Shannon 

Irish Piper 
Chicago, IL 

Alex Stewart* 

Sneedville, TN 

Ada Thomas 

Charenton, LA 

Lucinda Toomer* 

Black Quilter 
Columbus, GA 

Lem Ward* 

Decoy Carver/ 
Crisfield, MD 

Dewey Williams 

Shape Note 
Ozark, AL 

Clifton Chenier* 

Creole Accordi- 
Lafayette, LA 

Bertha Cook* 


Bedspread Maker 
Boone, NC 

Joseph Cormier 

Cape Breton 
Waltham, MA 

Elizabeth Cotton* 

Black Songster/ 
Syracuse, NY 

Burlon Craig 

Vale, NC 

Albert Fahlbusch 

Dulcimer Maker/ 
Scottsbluff, NE 

Janie Hunter 

Black Singer/ 
Johns Island, SC 

Mary Jane 

Black Seagrass 
Basket Maker 
Mt. Pleasant, SC 

Genevieve Mougin 

American Lace 
Bettendorf, LA 

Martin Mulvihill* 

Bronx, NY 

"Sandman" Sims 

Black Tap Dancer 
New York, NY 

Ralph Stanley 

Banjo Player/ 
Coeburn, VA 

Margaret Tafoya 

Santa Clara 
Pueblo Potter 
Espanola, NM 

Dave Tarras* 

Brooklyn, NY 

Paul Tiulana 

Eskimo Mask- 
Anchorage, AK 

Cleofes Vigil 


San Cristobal, NM 

Emily Kau'i 

Hula Master 
Kaneohe, HI 

Eppie Archuleta 

Hispanic Weaver 
San Luis Valley, 

Periklis Halkias 

Greek Clarinetist 
Astoria, Queens, NY 

Jimmy Jausoro 

Boise, ID 

Mealii Kalama 

Hawaiian Quilter 
Honolulu, HI 

Lily May Ledford* 

Lexington, KY 

Leif Melgaard 

Minneapolis, MN 

Bua Xou Mua 

Hmong Musician 
Portland, OR 

Julio Negron- 

Puerto Rican 
Instrument Maker 
Morovis PR 

Alice New Holy 
Blue Legs 

Lakota Sioux 
Quill Artist 
Oglala, SD 

Glenn Ohrlin 

Cowboy Singer/ 
Mountain View, 

Henry Townsend 

Blues Musician/ 
St. Louis, MO 

Horace "Spoons" 

Philadelphia, PA 

Alfonse "Bois Sec" 

Black Creole 
Eunice, LA 

Earnest Bennett 

Indianapolis, IN 

Helen Cordero 

Pueblo Potter 
Cochiti, NM 

Sonia Domsch 

Bobbin Lace 
Atwood, KS 

Canray Fontenot 

Black Creole 
Welsh, LA 

John Jackson 

Black Songster/ 
Fairfax Station, VA 

Peou Khatna 

Cambodian Court 
Silver Spring, MD 

Valerio Longoria 

San Antonio, TX 

Joyce Doc Tate 

Comanche Indian 
Apache, OK 

Luis Ortega 

Rawhide Worker 
Paradise, CA 

Ola Belle Reed 

Banjo Picker/ 
Rising Sun, MD 

Jenny Thlunaut* 

Tlingit Chilkat 
Blanket Weaver 
Haines, AK 

Nimrod Workman 

Ballad Singer 
Mascot, TN/ 
Chattaroy, WV 

Juan Alindato 

Ponce, PR 

Louis Bashell 

Polka Master 
Greenfield, WI 


American Corona 
Nyssa, OR 

Thomas Edison 
"Brownie" Ford 

Cowboy Singer/ 
Hebert, LA 

Kansuma Fujima 

American Dancer 
Los Angeles, CA 

Claude Joseph 

Religious Singer/ 
Atlanta, GA 

Raymond Kane 

Hawaiian Slack 
Key Guitarist/ 
Wai'anae, HI 

Wade Mainer 

Banjo Picker/ 
Flint, MI 


Crucian Singer/ 
St. Croix, VI 

Allison "Totie" 

Mardi Gras Chief/ 
Costume Maker 
New Orleans, LA 

Alex Moore, Sr. * 

Blues Pianist 
Dallas, TX 

Emilio and 
Senaida Romero 

American Crafts- 
workers in Tin 
and Embroidery 
Santa Fe, NM 


Split Ash 
Littleton, NH 

Pedro Ayala 

Donna, TX 

Kepka Belton 

Egg Painter 
Ellsworth, KS 

Amber Densmore 

New England 
Chelsea, VT 

Michael Flatley 

Pahs Park, IL 

Sister Rosalia 

Bobbin Lace- 
Hankinson, ND 

John Dee Holeman 

Durham, NC 

Albert "Sunnyland 
Slim" Luandrew 

Blues Pianist/ 
Chicago, IL 

Yang Fang Nhu 

Hmong Weaver/ 
Detroit, MI 

Kenny Sidle 

Newark, OH 

Willie Mae Ford 

Gospel Singer 
St. Louis, MO 

Clyde "Kindy" 

Hawaiian Cow- 
boy Singer/ 
Ukulele Player 
Kapa 'au, HI 

Arthel "Doc" 

Guitar Player/ 
Deep Gap, NC 

John Cephas 

Piedmont Blues 
Woodford, VA 

The Fairfield Four 

a capella Gospel 
Nashville, TN 

Jose Gutierrez 

Mexican Jarocho 
Norwalk, CA 

Richard Avedis 

Armenian Oud 
Visalia, CA 

Christy Hengel 

Concertina Maker 

New Mm, MN 

Ilias Kementzides 

Pontic Greek Lyra 
Norwalk, CT 

Ethel Kvalheim 

Stoughton, WI 


Kiowa Regalia 
Anadarko, OK 

Mabel E. Murphy 

Fulton, MO 

LaVaughn E. 

Philadelphia, PA 

Earl Scruggs 

Bluegrass Banjo 
Madison, TN 

Harry V. Shourds 

Wildfowl Decoy 
Seaville, NJ 

Chesley Goseyun 

Apache Fiddle 
Tucson, AZ 

* (deceased)