In 1821, Sequoyah singlehandedly created a syllabary, or writing system, for his people, the Cherokee Indians. Within a few years, the tribe’s literacy rate was far higher than their white neighbors. First published in 1829, the Cherokee Hymnbook contained the lyrics to sacred songs, written in Cherokee, using Sequoyah’s syllabary. It was a groundbreaking achievement, created for an audience who could both read the Cherokee language and sing by heart the tunes that went with the lyrics. Nearly two centuries later, in 2014, a new edition of the Cherokee Hymnbook was published— keeping alive both the language and the sacred music.
The "Down the Road on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina" podcast highlights bluegrass and old-time music stories, performers, and traditions across the mountain and foothills counties of Western North Carolina. Hosted by Laura Boosinger and produced by Kim Clark of WNCW-FM, the podcast is a joint effort of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, the North Carolina Arts Council, WNCW-FM, and the American roots music journal No Depression.