Although Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz have been singing together only 16 years, their strong, soul-stirring singing makes you feel their devotion to the place from which their music springs. As they wrap their songs in stories of the people and the places of the music, audiences are transported to another time when life was more real and families were held close. Their harmonies are hair-raising and representative of the finest American traditional music.
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Home for Ginny and Tracy is the small village of Tanner, West Virginia in the heart of Appalachia. Ginny is a native of Halifax County, Virginia where she grew up in a large extended family of singers and musicians. Tracy grew up in New jersey and New England where his strongest memories are of days spent on the neighbors'farm in southern Vermont. Ginny and Tracy met in 1988 when both were on staff at the Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp near Woodstock, NY. They soon discovered that, despite their differing childhoods, they shared a deep understanding of and love for the music of the rural south. It was Ginny's birthright and Tracy's lifetime devotion.
Ginny's father, Ben Hawker, was her mentor growing up. Together, they taught the beautiful old singing of his Primitive Baptist Church for ten years at the Augusta Heritage Workshops in Elkins, WV. He went with her to the Smithsonian, the Chicago Folk Festival and the Vancouver Folk Festival where their family harmony left an indelible memory with their listeners. Ben also introduced her to early Bluegrass harmony through the oral tradition. Ginny continues to honor his style and grace with her singing and storytelling
When they met in 1988, Tracy had already spent 26 years as a member of The New Lost City Ramblers, the traditional stringband responsible for introducing urban audiences to southern rural music in the 60's and 70's. He was also deep into Cajun music, playing accordion, fiddle, guitar, and always singing in such a soulful way that many people worldwide were drawn to the music he represented so well. The Ramblers have twice been nominated for a Grammy.
For the past 15 years, Ginny and Tracy have appeared in concerts and festivals throughout the United States, Canada, and England. Each summer they teach southern traditional singing at several music camps introducing people to the music they love. Recently they have started teaching students in their West Virginia home.
In concert, Ginny and Tracy will cover everything from the beautiful unaccompanied ballads of the south to early Bluegrass duets to the songs of The Carter Family. You'll hear fiddle tunes, gospel songs as done in rural families, even some classic country songs. What their concerts will lack is "fillers." Every song they do means something special to them and will invite you to join them in the celebration of your heritage.
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