The Appalachian Media Institute (AMI) is proud to share My Kind of Music, the fourth of four youth productions from Envisioning Our Future– the 2016 Summer Documentary Institute (SDI). Each summer for the past 28 years, the SDI has invited central Appalachian youth aged 14-22 to engage in place-based education, documentary media making and creative youth development at Appalshop. The SDI provides a nurturing space for young people to explore the ways media production skills can be used to ask, and begin to answer, critical questions about themselves and their communities.
For 8 weeks throughout June & July, our youth interns and peer trainers participated in daily workshops in the Boone building– Appalshop’s digital classroom. During this time they also had the opportunity to travel twice to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to engage deeply in the city’s various models of community-based arts, through a collaboration with Carnegie Museum of Art.
My Kind of Music is a documentary film by AMI intern Eli Bedel that explores the impact that the popularization of old time music has had on the regional style in eastern Kentucky. Eli shared additional insight into his film, stating: “I have been playing old-time Appalachian music since I was around 13 years old. Growing up in Appalachian Ohio, I felt a certain connection to the music’s homeland further south but had ever grown up with the music. Any old-time music in southern Ohio seemed to have died out before my time. So like many younger musicians who didn’t grow up with the music, I turned to the Internet and old recordings to learn the style. By doing so, I discovered an entire subculture dedicated to this music consisting of many folks who never came from rural Appalachia. When I visited the mountains of east Kentucky this summer, I was finally able to meet musicians who grew up with this musical culture and were carrying on the tradition. Talking with some of these amazing folks made me question how I came to approach the music as well as the old-time revivalist movement of mostly non-Appalachians adopting this unique culture. It inspired me to make a film that included the viewpoints of native Appalachian traditional musicians as well as old-time musicians from outside Appalachia so that both perspectives could be represented. Appalachia has had a long history of exploitation and its musical culture deserves just as much respect as any of its other assets.
I am extremely grateful that AMI helped me to turn this vision into an actual piece. The assistance and encouragement of all those involved in the program was more than I could ask for and I truly feel lucky that I had such an opportunity to meet so many unique individuals and help document their stories. I hope the program continues many years into the future so that other young people may have the eye-opening summer that I was fortunate enough to experience. I am currently a junior at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio majoring in film and television and working to become a documentarian for life.”
You can watch My Kind of Music here:
To share this film with your community or to arrange a screening, please contact [email protected]
The 2016 Summer Documentary Institute was made possible by the generous support of our partners from PhotoWings, Making Connections News, Economic Hardship Reporting Project, and The JPB Foundation.