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In celebration of Come Hear North Carolina, a campaign for the 2019 North Carolina Year of Music, we're back with a new music themed season of Arts Across NC called "Director's Cut." Over the next four episodes, NC Arts Council Director Wayne Martin will unearth a field recording from the archive he built during his 30+ year tenure with our agency. Each song represents a different region of North Carolina. "These pieces that I've chosen are part of the fabric of who we are as a people," says Wayne. "They are pieces that tell the story of North Carolina. Up first is the song "Going Back to Weldon," performed by the Menhaden Chanteymen in 1988. There was a time when a stinky, oily fish ruled eastern North Carolina. From the late 1800s through much of the 20th century, menhaden sat at the economic epicenter of Beaufort, North Carolina. Year in and year out, generations of working class men and women caught, processed, packaged and shipped menhaden, also known in North Carolina's Core Sound region as shad. As the town grew alongside the burgeoning industry, so to did a new style of work song developed by African American men who often handled the back-breaking work of hauling in thousands of pounds of fish. These songs, called chanteys, have outlived the industry itself and today we share the story of and a song by the Menhaden Chanteymen. Arts Across NC is a podcast by and about the North Carolina Arts Council. The featured image for this episode is from the State Archives of North Carolina.

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