SERFA is a four-day conference that gives artists, venues, and music professionals a chance to network and share their talents. Attendees hail from not only all around the Southeastern states, but from throughout the US and Canada. Rounder Records founders Marian Leighton Levy, Ken Irwin, and Bill Nowlin are to receive the Kari Estrin Founding President’s Award at the 8th Annual Southeast Regional Folks Alliance Conference to be held from May 13 – 17 in Black Mountain, North Carolina.
Last year saw the institution of The Kari Estrin Founding President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Music and Culture in the Southeast. The inaugural recipient of this award was The Highlander Research and Education Center.
This year’s recipients are two legendary North Carolina artists - Alice Gerrard and Si Kahn, along with the Rounder Records founders Marian Leighton Levy, Ken Irwin. and Bill Nowlin. Marian Leighton Levy will deliver SERFA’s 2015 keynote and all five recipients will participate in workshops throughout the conference. This year's "Wisdom of The Elders" session will feature The Rounder Roundtable - hosted by Art Menius, discussing various issues of Southern music and activism. As an added feature to this award, SERFA will present “Precious Memories,” Si Kahn's compelling one-woman show on Wednesday night, featuring Sue Masseck as Sarah Ogan Gunning, whose album, The Silver Dagger, was one of Rounder’s first releases in 1976.
Rounder Records began in 1970 as a collective enterprise by three college friends, Ken Irwin, Marian Leighton Levy and Bill Nowlin, passionate music-lovers all, to record, preserve, and pioneer the development of what later came to be called roots music and its contemporary offshoots. Artists from J. D. Crowe, Tony Rice and Norman Blake to Alison Krauss, as well as the late Hazel Dickens, Alice Gerrard, Si Kahn, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Nanci Griffith, the late Bill Morrissey and many thousands of others have made Rounder their label home at various times over the decades.
Acquired a few years ago by the Concord Music Group, the largest independent label and music catalog company in the world, Rounder continues its own fiercely independent musical journey within that wider context. The vast Rounder catalog includes much of the finest Appalachian music, bluegrass, acoustic music, blues from New Orleans and Memphis, singer/songwriters, and alternative music that has stood the test of time.