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Tall tale tellers featured at ECU folklore fest

(Feb. 15, 1995)   —   Rodney Kemp and Sonny Williamson have some stories to tell, but don’t believe a word they say.
These two coastal residents are known to stretch the truth a bit, and that’s exactly what they plan to do in Greenville next Wednesday (Feb. 22). The storyteller duo, known as the Fish House Liars, will perform for East Carolina University’s North Carolina Folk Arts and Artists Series at the Percolator Coffeehouse on Fifth Street at 7:30 p.m.
The ECU Folklore Archive in the Department of English is the program’s sponsor. The performance is free and open to the public.
“The Fish House Liars are well known in the Morehead City to Cedar Island area,” said Dr. Karen Baldwin, director of the Folklore Archive.
“Each man is a traditional storyteller in his own right and as a team they have performed for folk traditional events in the Down East area—family reunions and volunteer fire department fund-raisers—and for the Harker’s Island Decoy Festival and North Carolina’s Seafood Festival in Morehead City,” she said.
Next Wednesday’s performance is the second program in the series.
Later programs are about the unusual and legendary names of North Carolina towns and mountain folk tales. The town names program, March 22, features an illustrated tour of towns with unusual names with Tom McGowan at 7:30 p.m. in room 2021 of the General Classroom Building. Storyteller Orville Hicks will complete the series on April 5, by telling some Jack Tales of the mountains at 7:30 p.m. in the Willis Building (Regional Development Institute).
“There are many opportunities to see North Carolina folk artists in the urban center of the state, but those of us who live in the east are not as fortunate,” said Baldwin. “This series is intended to fill a need for awareness of the state’s fine folk traditional musicians, storytellers and others.”
The Friends of the ECU Folklore Archive, the Department of English, and the Institute for Historical and Cultural Research in the College of Arts and Sciences helped in sponsoring the program. The series is affiliated with the Southern Coastal Heritage Program.