Tryon-based Gingerthistle performs in Flat Rock Oct. 23

Published 6:34 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Local residents Ben Seymour and Becky Cleland of Gingerthistle perform Sunday, Oct. 23 at St. John in the Wilderness in Flat Rock, N.C. (photo submitted by Bettie Orr)

The group Gingerthistle, consisting of husband-and-wife team Ben Seymour and Becky Cleland from Tryon, will perform at St. John in the Wilderness on Sunday, Oct. 23. The concert will begin at 4 p.m. in the church, located at 1905 Greenville Highway in Flat Rock, N.C.
Employing a capella and instrumental approaches, primarily Appalachian mountain dulcimer, banjo, bones and acoustic guitar, Gingerthistle traces musical threads of traditional folk music from the Blue Ridge mountains back to their Celtic roots.
The two have been performing since 1980 and have produced five recordings. The first recording is of vocal and instrumental Celtic music. The second CD is a collection of traditional Appalachian music.
Gingerthistle is joined by Ben’s brother, Wayne, on its third recording of traditional hymns played on dulcimers and guitars. The group’s 2005 CD is a recording of a live performance given at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland.
Seymour’s new CD, titled “Tis Himself,” includes a wide variety of musical genres.
“Many people have asked where the name Gingerthistle came from,” says Cleland.  “Many years ago, when Ben and I felt ready to share our music with the public, we tried at length, with no luck, to come up with a name that fit and inspired us both. So I sat down one day and began to write combinations of words that sounded nice and had positive connotations. When I tried ginger and thistle together, I liked the combination very much, the soft sound of the spoken words suggests the trickling of a brook, or a whispering breeze bearing, perhaps, a hint of wildflowers. So Gingerthistle we became. Ginger, a country spice, and thistle, a country flower, worthy symbols of the folk music we love.”
The couple has performed at many festivals and events in North and South Carolina, as well as in other states in the southeast. Each October they play period music at Walnut Grove Plantation in Roebuck, S.C.
Seymour has been building dulcimers since 1994 and he has added bouzoukis, psalteries, harps and other custom instruments to his portfolio. He also has repaired many types of acoustic instruments, including those of various ethnic backgrounds, such as balalaikas and domras.
Offerings will be accepted at the door. For further information, contact the church office of St. John in the Wilderness at 828-693-9783 or Bettie Orr at 828-698-2357.
– article submitted
by Bettie Orr

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