Charis Thorsell at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko on January 29, 2015: sharing her original tune, "Born to Buck," as cowboy poets Shadd Piehl and Paul Zarzyski listen along at the Let 'Er Buck show in the G Three Bar Theater. It's rodeo season!
The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is a week-long celebration of life and art in the rural West that takes place in Elko, Nevada the last week of January. The Elko Gathering is the first and largest of hundreds of cowboy poetry gatherings across the country. Produced by the Western Folklife Center, its purpose is to present and preserve the contemporary and traditional arts created by people living close to the land in the American West. Poetry, music, stories, handcrafted gear, film, food, photography - all contribute to the texture of an event that has become an annual ritual for thousands of people who value and practice the artistic traditions of the region, and are concerned about the present and future of the West. For tickets and information, visit www.westernfolklife.org.
The mission of Deep West Video is to tell first-hand stories from the rural West that are rooted in the values of life on the land. The video list for 2015 includes special videos created by students of the Owyhee Combined School on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation, sharing a bit of their life and culture. The Deep West Video playlist also includes a special 2008 video group, "Old West, New West." Since 2000, the Western Folklife Center has been working with rural people to produce short videos and slide shows about their lives on the land. Using the tools of digital communication, these home-made productions are simple yet elegant; they are not glossy and commercial, but from the heart.
Deep West Videos is supported by the R. Harold Burton Foundation and the Golden Rule Foundation.
The Western Folklife Center presents the diverse cultures of the American West through exhibits, festivals, concerts, readings, films, workshops, tours, and other educational programs. These videos represent some of the folkways presented by the Western Folklife Center, beginning with corridos, story songs that are an important part of Mexican culture.