The McIntosh County Shouters will bring the “ring shout,” probably the oldest surviving African American performance tradition in North America, to UNC Asheville.
The ring shout, a fusion of dance, call-and-response singing, and percussion with hand-clapping and sticks, is African in origin and was first described in detail by outside observers during the Civil War in the coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia.
The ring shout tradition was thought to have died out in second half of the 20th century, but in fact lived on in the small Low Country community of Bolden in McIntosh County, Georgia. When the tradition became known to outsiders in 1980, the people of Bolden organized the performance group, the McIntosh County Shouters, to present authentic recreations of their community tradition that had been passed down from their enslaved forbears.
The McIntosh County Shouters performed in Washington, D.C. at the opening festival for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and at the John F. Kennedy Center and the Library of Congress. They also have received the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Governor’s Award in the Humanities in Georgia.
The Ring Shout Master Class is free and open to everyone, and will take place from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018 in Lipinsky Hall, Room 018, UNC Asheville.
The McIntosh County Shouters concert takes place Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. in UNC Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium. Tickets, available online (www.etix.com/ticket/o/4526) or at the door, are $15 general admission; free for UNC Asheville students with OneCard; $5 for all other students and for UNC Asheville employees; $10 for OLLI members and UNC Asheville alumni. Lipinsky Auditorium, One University Heights, Asheville.