• Jean Ritchie
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    Jean Ritchie was born in 1922. She grew up in Viper, Kentucky as the youngest of 14 children. Some members of her family were great musicians. Jean's father encouraged music making in all his children and the whole family sang and played together. Jean learned to play the dulcimer when she was 5. During Jean's childhood she learned different folk songs such as work songs, play songs/game songs, hymns, and instrumentals. She also learned dances such as square dancing, jigs and reels. Jean went to college at the University of Kentucky and then got a job in New York where she performed her folk songs for many city folk. She continued this for 50 years. One of her songs include "The West Virginia Mine Disaster."
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    The dulcimer is one of the instruments that Jean Ritchie loved to play as she sang.
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    This picture shows Jean playing a dulcimer with a feather.
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    This is a book written about Jean Ritchie's life. Ms. Napier has a copy if you would like to look at or read.
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    Here are some examples of American folk instruments. How many can you name?
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    Question for students: What musical style is "The West Virginia Mine Disaster"? Please post your answer on the messageboard and don't forget to restate the question.
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