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Mendhi hands by Pushpa Jain. Photographer unknown. All rights reserved.Fish decoy. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Embroidered dress detail. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Cedar bird by Glen VanAntwerp. Photo by Al Kamuda. All rights reserved.
Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Awards

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Mike Ross and Eli Strauss
2014 master artist and apprentice
Bath and Lansing (Clinton and Ingham County)
old time fiddle

In the 1970s Mike Ross regularly played harmonica in sessions with accomplished fiddlers in the Lansing and East Lansing area. It was in this context that Mike began learning the fiddle. When he attended the Wheatland Music Festival in Remus, Michigan, he was further encouraged in his pursuit of fiddle knowledge. After 48 years of playing and learning fiddle tunes from recordings, books and other musicians, Mike has begun to spread his knowledge to younger generations. He performs as part of the Scarlet Runner String Band, and runs an old time session in East Lansing, Michigan, called the Pretty Shaky String Band. For the last 30 years, Mike has played fiddle tunes on his porch every Halloween while his wife passes out candy. In addition to fiddle and harmonica, Mike also plays other instruments, including clawhammer banjo.

Eli Strauss is a doctoral student in zoology at Michigan State University where he specializes in studying the social organization of wild spotted hyenas. He says that his two main interests are science and old time music. He has played clawhammer banjo for 5 ½ years, and is interested in learning to play the fiddle to supplement his knowledge of tunes and styles.

-Micah Ling

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