March 22, 2012 – Appalachian folk artist and activist Randy Wilson will perform at 7:30 p.m. on March 30 at Ford Chapel at Allegheny College. The concert is part of a sustainability conference being held at the college, although the concert is open to all at no charge.
By singing songs of struggle in Appalachian coal country, guitarist and banjo player Randy Wilson explores the impact of mountaintop removal mining on families and communities. He will also share a visual presentation on issues surrounding mountaintop removal, energy and alternatives for the energy future in Appalachia.
Wilson is the director of the folk arts program of the Hindman Settlement School in Kentucky. As a 20-year member of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, he has lobbied for justice in the coalfields at local, state and national levels.
Representing the coalfields at the United Nations Conference on Energy and Sustainable Development, he advocated an end to mountaintop removal and a transition to renewable energies in the region.
As a folk artist, he represented Appalachia at the Smithsonian Folk Festival on the National Mall.
For the past 10 years he has been putting together presentations on the history of the banjo from West Africa to colonial days to the present. He also produces a weekly kid’s radio program for the Appalshop’s WMMT station, which streams live at appalshop.org.
Wilson is also working on an oral history of coal miners in the region that chronicles the neglect of the land, its workers and its people, based on the premise that “what you do to the land, you do to the people.”
For information on Wilson’s performance, contact the college’s Office of Spiritual and Religious Life at 814-332-2800 or Jane Ellen Nickell at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on the sustainability conference on March 30-31, or to register, visit www.allegheny.edu/sustainability2012.
Wilson’s appearance at Allegheny is funded by the Harry C. Winslow and Madeleine King Winslow Ecumenical Fund and is part of the college’s Year of Sustainable Communities.