The Old-Time Herald Volume 14, Number 2

An Interview with Alan Jabbour
By Brian Lockman
Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Karen Jabbour

I started playing violin at age seven. Our school in Jacksonville, Florida had a little string orchestra, and I got invited to play. And when asked which instrument I wanted to play I said, “I guess the violin.” So I was playing violin and was naturally led into classical music. I love classical music, but not to the exclusion of all else. I loved pop music in the ‘50s when I was growing up, especially the sort of Southern-based grassroots rock and roll that was popping up on small labels all over the country. When I went to the University of Miami around 1960 I had one friend, Ron Kickasola, who was already called a folk singer. He was singing in a little coffee house in Miami. I would go to listen, and sort of got smitten by folk music, and thought, “Here's a whole category I never thought about much.” So I bought some Joan Baez records, and you might say I was being introduced to what we now call the folk-song revival.

When I went to graduate school at Duke University in the fall of 1963, I majored in English literature, with a special focus on medieval literature. In my first semester I took a seminar in the traditional ballad with Professor Holger Nygard. In the class he would drag out Library of Congress field recordings, and I was smitten by the sound and texture of them.



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