February 2013

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Helen Sylvain, Irene Mercier & Irene Cody

You might want hold onto your hats! Helene Sylvain and Irene Mercier have incredible energy. Helene and Irene are sisters. They grew up in Lewiston, Maine. And, like many people from their generation, recycling memories and sharing life’s experiences takes on special meaning — especially their deep connection to family and the love of a good song and a good story.

Helene and Irene were interviewed in Lewiston, Maine in 2010. In the photo by Kathleen Mundell, Helene is to the left, Irene in the middle, and, on the accordion is Irene Coady.

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Molly Neptune Parker basket

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Molly Neptune Parker is a Passamaquoddy elder and basket maker who has devoted her life to practicing and teaching ash basket making and passing on the Passamaquoddy language. A recipient of a National Heritage Award, she was recently honored by the National Endowment for the Arts and continues teaching new generations, including her grandchildren, basketmaking.

Molly was interviewed in the Story Bank Maine mobile recording booth in 2010 at the Maine Folk Festival. Photos by Peter Dembski.

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6Mackowski snowshoe

7 Mackowski in workshop

It’s hard to know where to start with Bill Mackowski. Bill’s a Maine Guide, a bush pilot, a trapper… that’s plenty, right?

Well, Bill also makes traditional pack baskets and creels which are baskets for carrying fish. He’s also the recipient of a Traditional Arts Fellowship from theMaine Arts Commission. And, we haven’t even mentioned what Bill may be best known for: snowshoes.

Bill was interviewed in 2009 in the Story Bank mobile recording booth at the Maine Folk Festival in Bangor, Maine.  Photos by Peter Dembski.

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On this edition of Story Bank, a tale from Somalia. It’s a story about Egal Shidad, a wise coward. The story is told by Jama Osman Mahdi a Somali elder living in Lewiston, Maine who carries on the Somali tradition of oral recitation. Jama’s story is translated by Hassan Adan.


Jama was interviewed at the Lewiston city hall in 2011.
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