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Sounds of the South

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In mid-September, 13 musicians from around the country gathered at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham to reinterpret Sounds of the South, Alan Lomax's 1959 field recordings of traditional Southern music.

Sponsored by Duke Performances, the musicians—locals Megafaun; Fight the Big Bull of Richmond, Va.; Sharon Van Etten of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Bon Iver's Justin Vernon from Wisconsin—rehearsed for three days, playing the classic songs not as they were originally recorded but rewriting them based on how they felt moved emotionally and spiritually.

What came out in the three live performances that culminated the days of rehearsal was an energy unmatched in all but a few events I have ever witnessed and a feeling that musical traditions do not die but are rather reworked and passed on to those who come after to enjoy and savor anew.

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