WASHINGTON — Appalachian music legend Jean Ritchie, considered one of the greatest dulcimer players of all time, was honored Wednesday by the National Endowment of the Arts for connecting world auds to the rich folk heritage of her home region.
Ritchie was among 15 artists receiving a NEA Heritage Award Fellowship, the country’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Other 2002 Heritage recipients included Chicago blues guitarist David “Honeyboy” Edwards and Louisiana’s Luderin Darbone and Edwin Duhon, co-founders of Cajun group the Hackberry Ramblers, which has been continuously performing since 1933.
Other folk musicians receiving the $10,000 fellowship were Tennessee fiddler Ralph Blizard; Irish fiddler Kevin Burke; Lebanese reed flute player Nadim Dlaikan; Sephardic musician-composer Flory Jagoda; Contra dance musician-composer Bob McQuillen; and Conjunto accordionist Domingo “Mingo” Saldivar.
Fellowships were announced at a Capitol Hill ceremony. The artists will headline a free concert in Washington Friday night.