Jean Ritchie, a folk singer and mountain dulcimer players who revived American folk music in the 1960’s and brought hundreds of traditional songs from Appalachia to a wide audience , died on June 1st at her home in Berea, Ky, at the age of 92.
Ms. Ritchie performed with some of the best-known names in folk music, including Pete Seeger and Doc Watson. She was part of the Newport Folk Festival, and performed at there in 1959 and many times thereafter. She was a fixture on the Greenwich Village coffeehouse scene, and became known as the “Mother of Folk.”
Ms. Ritchie’s work was recorded by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress’ Archive of Folk Song. Her first solo album, “Jean Ritchie Singing the Traditional Songs of Her Kentucky Mountain Family,” was released in 1952.
She was the subject of a documentary film, “Mountain Born: The Jean Ritchie Story,” which was made in 1996 for Kentucky Educational Television.
She published “The Swapping Song Book” (1952), “The Dulcimer Book” (1963) and “Folk Songs of the Southern Appalachians.”