By Alicia Stemper / Vitamin O
Music Maker Relief Foundation receives its primary funding through private donors who understand the importance of preserving the musical traditions of the South and supporting the musicians who built, contributed, or continue them. Founded by Tim and Denise Duffy, the Hillsborough based non-profit has worked with 425 artists since 1994. Says Community Coordinator Cornelius Lewis, most of the musicians they support “were playing for the joy of playing music.” Some are “up and comers,” others are “never did-ers.” What they share is “they define this music, and this music defines us as a culture.”
According to Lewis, traditional music “started in the south and worked its way up. It is the fabric of our culture.” The organization uses a multi-facetted and collaborative approach to preservation and promotion. Monthly financial support has been critical to enabling self-taught luthier Freeman Vines to resume making his unique guitar bodies. Tim Duffy’s photography documents and educates; over half a million people saw his exhibit in the Atlanta airport. Music Makers recently partnered with Carrboro’s Recreation and Parks Department to create the Freight Train Blues music series. And with the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough, Music Makers is hosting Picnic in the Park on July 2nd at the Eno River Famer’s Market Pavilion where several of their musicians will perform.