A Great American Tapestry tells the story of the southern mountain’s musical birth and evolution through the strands of the Scots-Irish legacy, oft-overlooked African-American tradition and through the longest lived music in the Americas, the indigenous tradition.
According to Director/Producer David Weintraub, “Mountain music is often discussed as a Scots-Irish tradition that came over here by the Ulster-Scots and that’s true. It is a fascinating story. But what often gets overlooked is that the West African banjo was played in this country by blacks for nearly 100 years before it was ever picked up by white musicians. African-Americans also played a key role in developing the syncopated and rhythmic fiddle styles that symbolic of old time and bluegrass music. The blended cultural result is exactly what makes mountain music as beautiful and captivating as it is.”
The film features the leading luminaries of the ballad tradition including balladeer extraordinaires Sheila Kay Adams, Joe Penland and Bobby McMillon as well as Grammy Award winning founders of the world renowned black string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops including Rhiannon Giddens, members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, David Holt, and musicologists and historians who tell the story of the great melting pot that became Appalachian music.