Explore Illinois roots music at Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Every region has its own twists on folk and roots music, and the mission of the Red Prairie Ramblers is to celebrate the musical traditions of downstate Illinois. The quartet performs Sept. 30 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

The band will perform traditional American fiddle tunes and songs from central and southern Illinois, as well as original music by the late fiddler and composer Garry Harrison of Charleston, Ill.


The ALPLM’s doors open at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30. The Ramblers take the stage at 7. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased at bit.ly/ALPLMramblers. Audience members must wear facial coverings.


The concert is part of the special programming being offered alongside the ALPLM’s temporary exhibit on music, “The State of Sound: A World of Music from Illinois.” The exhibit highlights contributions in a dozen different genres from Illinois artists such as Miles Davis, REO Speedwagon, Smashing Pumpkins, Muddy Waters, the Staple Singers and more.


The exhibit, which runs through Jan. 23, is free with regular museum admission. Learn more at www.MusicFromIllinois.com.


“There’s no better way to appreciate music than through a live performance. We’re excited to welcome the Red Prairie Ramblers as we continue to explore the ‘state of sound’ in Illinois,” said Christina Shutt, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.


The Red Prairie Ramblers are Genevieve Koester (fiddle/guitar/vocals), Mareva Lindo (fiddle/guitar/vocals), Smith Koester (banjo), and Jay Desrosiers (mandolin/guitar). Genevieve learned to play the fiddle from her father, Garry Harrison – a virtuoso fiddler who visited old-time musicians in central and southern Illinois in the 1970s to preserve their sounds.


Many styles of old-time and country music are found throughout the U.S., and all can trace their roots back to a combination of African, Indigenous, European and British influences. In Illinois, much of this music centers on the fiddle, with fast-paced hoedowns made for square dancing – but there are also plenty of folk songs and traditional ballads.


The Ramblers, in addition to performing, will talk to the audience about the music and its roots in Illinois.


The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum uses a combination of rigorous scholarship and high-tech showmanship to immerse visitors in Lincoln’s life and times. The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books, documents, photographs, artifacts and art, as well as some 12 million items pertaining to all aspects of Illinois history.  


For more information, visit www.PresidentLincoln.Illinois.gov or follow the ALPLM on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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