The idea of “folklore” may conjure stories we tell children about mythical creatures, explanations of unique family traditions, or even mysteries of the natural world. But for Greg Sharrow, folklore was how people forged a sense of who they are.
Sharrow dedicated three decades of work with the Vermont Folklife Center to documenting, celebrating, and illuminating folklore and folk arts in Vermont. He died Monday, April 2.
In Sharrow's view, folklore creates the story of our lives as we’re living it.
"If we are really wanting to understand someone’s experience we need to know what they believe. Because people exist within a system of belief that has to do with health and wellness and illness and healing, it has to do with justice and fairness and all kinds of really fundamental and important things. Folklore is the perfect postmodern discipline. Because truth from my point of view is a chorus. It’s a chorus of 10 people, or a chorus of a thousand people, where some people are singing in unison, some people are singing in harmony, and some people are singing in disharmony."
Randolph sculptor and artist Jim Sardonis joins Vermont Edition to discuss Sharrow's legacy with Vermont folk arts and folklore and their longtime friendship.
Broadcast live on Thursday, April 5, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.