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Subject:
Upcoming Event at Cranbury Public Library
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The Fiddler in America: A History and Demonstration with Matthew Backes
Cranbury Public Library
Friday, Sep. 21, 7:00
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HUMANITIES TO GO / PUBLIC SCHOLARS PROJECT 

How often do you get to hear music and then have a high-energy conversation about its role in historical traditions, its cultural influence, and its style and technique? Until the early twentieth century, the fiddle was the centerpiece of American folk music and folk culture. In this interactive session, Backes explores the origins and history of American fiddle music—covering a range of styles and modes of expression—and raises along the way big questions about musical tradition and music making.

Matthew Backes is a cultural and intellectual historian of the United States. His research interests include the history of the family, religion, and cultural authority in the nineteenth century as well as folk music and the meaning of tradition from the late nineteenth century to the present. Backes received his B.A. from Hamilton College and his Ph.D. in history with distinction from Columbia University. He teaches classes on religion in America, youth culture and generation conflict, nineteenth-century cultural history, and the 1970s and 80s at Rutgers University. Backes also performs actively as a multi-instrumentalist and singer in a bluegrass band and offers public lectures on the history and culture of the fiddle in America.