Honors Mike Seeger
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
12-2 pm (est)
on Walk Right In
In advance of a Virginia Festival of the Book event on March 21 hosted by our friends at the Virginia Folklife Program on the legendary Mike Seeger, James Leva will visit WTJU for a special program honoring his friend. James will not only talk about Mike's accomplishments, but also perform a few tunes often associated with Seeger.
James Leva is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter whose music is deeply rooted in Appalachian tradition. He learned much of his fiddle, banjo and vocal repertoire from great traditional masters such as Tommy Jarrell and Doug Wallin. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s he performed with seminal traditionally focused groups that were exploring the boundaries of Appalachian music. Bands such at Plank Road (with Al Tharp and Michael James Kott), Ace Weems and the Fat Meat Boys (with David Winston and Chad Crumm), and the Hellbenders.(with Bruce Molsky and Dave Grant) performed throughout the US and Europe and their recordings were widely influential.
James, who has a PhD in French Literature, was a Fulbright Scholar to France. He has composed and performed music for a variety of plays and theatrical productions in Europe (where he performed in several of France’s National Theatres, at the Avignon Festival and the Taormina Festival in Italy.) and in the US (including the Barter Theatre, Lime Kiln Theater, and Arkansas Repertory Theatre). In 1995 James won an NEH grant for the production of his original play “Visitations” which was performed at Lime Kiln Arts in Lexington, Virginia.
James is currently performing with Purgatory Mountain, with whom he recorded an album in 2007. Al Tharp (longtime veteran of Beausoleil), Danny Knicely (a brilliant young musician who has toured with Tony Rice and Vassar Clements among many others) and dancer/percussionist Matthew Olwell (a veteran of Footworks Dance Ensemble and the London production of River Dance) recently toured in France, including performances for the Aulnay All Blues festival in Paris where they performed with Bassekou Kouyate and Corey Harris.
James has also taught at numerous music camps including Fiddle Tunes, Augusta, Swannanoa, Ashokan, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop among many others. Courses he has taught include fiddle, vocals, harmony, banjo, songwriting, music of the Carter Family, the Louvin Brothers, the Stanley Brothers, and a course he devised, “The Old Time / Country Connection”. He is currently performing with Purgatory Mountain and as a duet with Nora Jane Struthers. He will also be performing several times this year with Carol Elizabeth Jones.