Lydia Hamessley.

Professor of Music Lydia Hamessley was a panelist for the Old-Time Music in the 21st Century Unconference, described as “a radically decentered series of conversations with audience participation,” sponsored by the Center for Popular Music (CPM) at Middle Tennessee State University. The first of three planned for this spring, the event focused on “Authenticity and the Revival.”

Joining Hamessley on the panel were Grammy-winning musician Dom Flemons and John Fabke, a musician and the CPM music historian and archivist. The virtual event was moderated by CPM director Greg Reish and musician Dan Margolies. 

The wide-ranging discussion covered topics such as:

  • What does “traditional” mean in the 21st century?What is revivalism? Is there still a revival today?
  • Authenticity for 21st-century artists. Professional artists vs. amateur participants
  • Authenticity redefined as older generations pass away. Who are the elder tradition bearers in the 21st century?
  • Authenticity and nostalgia. What are we looking for in the past when we seek authenticity? Which past is the model for old-time music today?
  • Southernness and authenticity in old-time music
  • Authenticity and 21st century learning (YouTube, formal instruction, music camps, tablature)
  • Authenticity as a commodity, as a construction
  • Role of folklorists, scholars, record companies, publicists, festival programmers, etc. as gatekeepers
  • Ownership. Whose music is it?

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