The Hall of Master Folk Artists at Northwestern State University will add five new members on Saturday, July 15 as part of the Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival. The 2017 inductees are: Barbara Franklin of Baton Rouge, Ganey “Pop” Hymes, Ed Huey and Sammy Nix of Natchitoches and Steve Riley of Mamou.
Since 1981, the Louisiana Folklife Center’s Hall of Master Folk Artists has recognized more than 100 state artisans in music, arts, crafts and more.
The formal induction will be part of the Folk Festival’s official welcoming ceremonies at 11:15 a.m. in Prather Coliseum.
Franklin began working with her hands when she was about seven and has been creating cloth dolls for nearly 40 years. A New Orleans native, she was inspired to create cloth dolls after observing a variety of dolls on display in the French Quarter. Franklin handcrafts her dolls at home and regularly rents space at a local flea market. She also sells her work at craft fairs and festivals throughout Louisiana.
Huey is a teacher and performer of American roots music specializing in early blues guitar and harmonica styles. He is a Northwestern State University graduate in vocal music education and a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga master’s graduate in vocal performance. His versatile education also includes studies at Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, West Virginia, in blues guitar and harmonica.
During his 25-year career as Choral Director at The Baylor School in Chattanooga, Huey was twice honored by the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts as an Outstanding Music Educator. He served as artistic director of the Chattanooga Girls’ Choir and received international recognition when the choir won in Bournemouth. Huey received a Lyndhurst Foundation Grant and gathered ﬁeld recordings of Mississippi Delta bluesmen. He was recently honored by the Lt. Governor of Louisiana and the Louisiana Folklife Commission as a Louisiana Tradition Bearer sustaining the distinct culture and contributing to the rich diversity of living traditions. Huey continues to learn, teach harmonica and perform. He plays harmonica and sings with Cane Mutiny, the Snake Doctors blues duo with John Litzenberg, and harmonica with the Hardrick Rivers Revue. He is the honorary co-chair of the 2017 Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival.
Hymes has been surrounded by music his entire life. His father plays harmonica and his grandfather played guitar recreationally and at church gatherings. That influence led him to start playing the drums soon after becoming a teenager. His main inspiration started when he watched bands play in local parades. Hymes is noted for being passionate about his music and says he gets great pleasure when others enjoy and appreciate his music. He finds playing the drums to be relaxing.
“Anyone beginning music should be strong, keep going and let nothing stop you,” said Hymes.
Nix has been playing the drums for 50 years. He developed his passion for the instrument by listening to records his mother would play and watching the Beatles perform on television. Nix received his first drum set from his mother with the condition that he take lessons. He took lessons and joined his high school marching band. Nix continued to play in college where he minored in music. Nix enjoys playing a variety of music including country, swamp pop, classic rock, hard bop jazz and rhythm and blues.
Riley is a widely acknowledged master of the Cajun accordion and its singularly powerful sound.
The 38th annual Natchitoches-Northwestern Folk Festival will be held July 14-15 in Prather Coliseum on the Northwestern State University campus. Festival hours are 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Tickets are $13 for an advance all-events pass through July 11. Advance tickets are free for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at the door for $6 for Friday night, $10 for all day Saturday or $6 for Saturday after 5 p.m.
The 2017 Festival theme “Keeping Tradition Alive!” celebrating the ways in which outstanding artists young and old are tapping into the power and artistry of the old ways, revitalizing and reimagining tradition as they make it their own.
The Festival will feature live Cajun, zydeco, folk, bluegrass, Texas swing, blues, country, rhythm and blues music and more along with crafts, food and informative narrative sessions.
For more information about the Festival, contact the Louisiana Folklife Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or (318) 357-4332.