WUMB’s Summer Acoustic Music Week 1 is about to begin on July 10, and this year we are excited to welcome into our Instructor family, ballad singer, folklorist, illustrator, author and social activist Saro Lynch-Thomason!

Saro was brought up in a storytelling family in Tennessee, and she has been a storyteller, in a number of different mediums, all her life. After receiving a degree in Studio Arts from Bard College, she has been teaching, performing and lecturing on traditional song, labor history and Appalachian history in all kinds of venues, from classrooms to camps to symposiums, throughout the United States.

Her 2012 compilation project, Blair Pathways: A Musical Exploration of America’s Largest Labor Uprising includes over 20 researched songs from West Virginia’s labor wars, and features artists including Dom Flemons, Sam Gleaves, Elizabeth Laprelle and Riley Baugus. 2013 saw the release of her solo CD, Vessel, an a cappella compilation of ballads and songs from Appalachia and the British Isles. And in 2014 Saro published Lone Mountain, a children’s book about mountaintop removal mining and the precious gifts of Appalachia.

At SAMW Week 1, Saro will be teaching two classes: “Introduction to Appalachian Balladry” is an all-levels class that will introduce students to a variety of ballads from the southern Appalachian traditions, from medieval folk tales to mining and labor organizing. And in “Group Singing for the Soul” Saro will get students singing together, on a variety of songs from sea shanties and Shaker songs, to Appalachian hymns and Scottish lullabies. Of course, in both classes she will provide the historical background and context for each song.

We are so pleased that Saro has decided to join us at SAMW! If you would also like to join us for this year’s Week 1 camp, there are still a few spaces available but you need to act fast!! Full details about WUMB’s Summer Acoustic Music Week program are available on the SAMW Website — you can register online, or email for more information.