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Ray Hicks

Ray Hicks epitomized the artwork of traditional Appalachian folk storytelling, and was primarily known for his “Jack port tales,” in regards to a poor but clever hero who also outwitted spirits, witches, dragons, thieves, and loss of life itself. The resources of Hicks’ tales dated back again to centuries-old Celtic and Western folk stories that had comparable descendants in additional cultures aswell. While the information were adapted to match the Appalachian way of life and landscape, even though each storyteller customized the stories to maintain them refreshing and lively, the essential elements were conserved intact for more than 100 years because of the region’s solid oral tradition. Very much like his tales, Hicks’ hill dialect was passed down over years, and with small outside influence on top of that; thus, his vocabulary alone became the thing of academic curiosity, as much scholars appeared to his stories for a home window in to the everyday talk from the area’s first white settlers. Hicks was created in 1922 in his family’s house on Beech Hill, NC, a location his immediate ancestors first resolved in the past due 1700s. He discovered the artwork of storytelling from his grandfather, and was the only person of his parents’ ten kids to take action. His family resided off the property, farming and gathering whatever they could, and Hicks continued to be in the house when he wedded and had kids of his very own. Furthermore to farming, he also proved helpful being a mechanic, carpenter, and lumberman, among various other odd jobs occasionally, but spent the majority of his lifestyle in poverty-level circumstances. In 1960, a close by elementary college invited Hicks to show tales for a little fee, and an area community college do the same shortly after. Phrase of his skill spread quickly, and shortly Hicks experienced storytelling engagements all around the area, though he was hesitant to travel greater than a day’s trip from his house. He welcomed site visitors, though, and countless vocabulary and folklore scholars, not forgetting simple attention seekers, produced their method to Beech Hill to listen to him. Many documentary movies of Hicks informing tales, performing and playing the harmonica, and recounting the area’s life-style were also produced, and in 1963 Sandy Paton documented four of Hicks’ tales for release around the Folk-Legacy LP Jack port Stories. In 1973, Hicks participated in the inaugural Country wide Storytelling Event in Jonesborough, TN, and became a normal festival spotlight most years later on. He was profiled in THE BRAND NEW Yorker, and in addition made an appearance in the PBS documentary series THE STORYPLOT of British, which spotlighted his exclusive dialect. In 1983, the Country wide Endowment for the Arts granted him its Country wide Heritage Fellowship. Nevertheless, Hicks’ wariness of prosperity and materialism, aswell as his distaste for travel, led him to carefully turn down engagements in Britain and on nationwide TV programs just like the Tonight Display. A struggle with prostate malignancy took Hicks from his hill house and right into a nursing house in the close by city of Boone, where he passed on on Apr 20, 2003.

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