32nd Annual Archie Lee Memorial Dulcimer Festival

This last weekend (15-16 October 2010) was the 32nd Annual Archie Lee Memorial Dulcimer Festival at Tishomingo State Park [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tishomingo_State_Park] in Mississippi. I know many of you spent the last week camping there and must have had a great time with dulcimer players from all over the area playing music into the wee hours of the night.

Since Saturday was such a beautiful day, Karen and I decided to drive over and check things out. Our drive took us on a small portion of the Natchez Trace Parkway [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natchez_Trace_Parkway] which for those unacquainted with it is “a two-lane parkway road that extends 444 miles (715 km) from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee”.

Karen and I got to the park in time to have lunch; thanks to Ten Speed BBQ truck being there (our first experience with them was in August at the Iuka dulcimer festival).  The open stage began shortly after noon and the Athens group was first.  I have included a couple photos (see below) and may add some video links later (if Homer gets to a WI-FI hot-spot).  It was a very nice outdoor event and the weather couldn’t have been nicer.

While we were there, Karen and I took some time to explore the park and did the obligatory crossing of the swinging bridge.

Oh yeah, Saturday was also Jerry & Louise’s Wedding Anniversary.  Happy Anniversary Jerry and Louise!

Back to the event which is billed as the “Annual Archie Lee Memorial Dulcimer Festival”. As of this weekend I had no idea who “Archie Lee” was so I did some sleuthing on the Internet. My first searches said that Archie Lee is a hard-core rapper but I kind of figured this wasn’t the Archie Lee I was looking for so I kept looking and did find “the” Archie Lee I was searching for.

So far I haven’t found a lot of specific information about Archie Lee other than he was an influential dulcimer player and folk music personality in the mid-1950s. Dawn Wilson from Birmingham tells me, “Archie Lee was from Red Bay, Alabama and for a while was president of the Ala-Sippi Dulcimer Association. He was also active in the Southern Appalachian Dulcimer Association (SADA) out of Birmingham and also the Huntsville clubs.”

If I find any more biographical information on Archie Lee I will post it on https://athensdulcimerclub.wordpress.com

The following are some of the audio, video, and photo links I found pertaining to Archie Lee:

Article by Archie Lee in the fall 1985 Dulcimer Players News: Grandma’s Kentucky Dulcimer

1958 video clip of Archie Lee with his Grandmother’s 1817 dulcimer made by Soll Guffey in Rowena, KY. The clip is from the Florida Folklife archives. It’s not a real long video and Archie plays around halfway through: http://www.flickr.com/photos/floridamemory/3697224681/

This is a funny audio version of the Arkansas Traveler by Archie Lee Recorded May 5, 1956


Photos from White Springs, Florida 1956:

Archie Lee, Thelma Boltin, and Alton Morris at the 1956 Florida Folk Festival: White Springs

Crowd watching as Archie Lee plays the dulcimer:

I don’t know how many years this photo goes back (click on the old time radio for audio), it is of an evening jam session in the park lodge at the Archie Lee Memorial Dulcimer Festival, Tishomingo State Park some time ago: http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/south/projects/site/8.html

My photos from this years event:



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