Rachel Hopkin

Folklorist and Radio Producer

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This is the page where I note my thoughts about matters concerning radio production, folklore, cultural sustainability, and what I’m currently working on, as well as general musings regarding life as a folklorist/radio producer.

Comps Exams and Rites of Passage

24 December, 2013

Earlier this week I picked up my graduation cap and gown, and a sillier outfit it would be hard to find! Even so, it’s a tangible reminder that this Masters in Folk Studies program – to which I will have devoted two happy, if hard working, years – is shortly to end My peers and I are due to graduate on the 11th May. That’s seven weeks away, but between now and then, I have three classes to complete. And I have to take the comprehensive exams. Read more

From Fieldwork to First Drafts

In my last post, I was all exuberance, having just returned from a lovely fieldwork trip to east Kentucky where I spent some time with the old-time banjo master, George Gibson. Read more

George Gibson – First Meeting

I just got back from a delightful field trip to visit George Gibson. George is a wonderful banjo player from the mountains of east Kentucky. I first heard about him from the Kentucky fiddler, John Harrod, who told me he credited George with bringing about a revival of otherwise forgotten banjo playing styles among some of fine younger old-time musicians on the scene; people like John Haywood, Brett Ratliff and Jesse Wells. This intrigued me, so I’m now doing some research into the music George plays and his influence. It was my first chance to meet him in person, though we’d already had quite a few phone conversations and a great deal of email correspondence. Read more

Folk and Radio Production

10 December, 2013

During my final semester in the Folk Studies MA program at Western Kentucky University, I’m co-teaching a graduate class on folklore and radio production – two subjects dear to my heart. The aim of the class is to give an overview of the history of US radio production (with some nods to other countries), show how radio has long been a great medium for folkloric subjects, and to get students to the stage where they can make short audio packages themselves. Read more

About Musical Migrants

Not long ago, my fellow folklorist/radio producer – Meredith Martin-Moats – asked me to contribute a short essay for her excellent blog which coincided with the re-broadcast of the third series of Musical Migrants on BBC Radio 4. (You can still listen to the series online here.) Here’s the piece I wrote for her:- Read more


9 December, 2013

Welcome to this – my first blog on my new website. Today is launch day! The site itself is still something of a work in progress. The designer, Robin Friedman, and I expect to carry on tinkering with elements of it for quite a few weeks to come, but the basic structure and design is in place. Read more