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Jay Ungar & Molly Mason

Best known for his composition, "Ashokan Farewell," the Grammy-winning and Emmy-nominated theme song of Ken Burns' PBS documentary series, The Civil War, Jay Ungar has performed and recorded with mid-'60s rock band, Cat Mother & the All Night Newsboys, the Putnam Country String Band, Fiddle Fever, the David Bromberg Band, and in duos with his wife, Molly Mason, and his ex-wife, Lyn Hardy. The founder of the Fiddle & Dance Workshop at Ashokan, a Catskill Mountain camp, in 1980, Ungar has spearheaded the revival in traditional string band music and dance.

The son of immigrant parents, Ungar grew up listening to traditional Hungarian and Macedonian music. Starting violin lessons at the age of seven, Ungar was soon playing by ear and writing his own melodies. While attending the High School of Music and Art, he was introduced, by friends, to bluegrass and traditional folk music.

In the early '60s, Ungar traveled to North Carolina and Tennessee in search of old timey folk musicians. Upon his return, he became involved with the roots music community in Greenwich Village. A founding member of Cat Mother & the All Night Newsboys, Ungar temporarily left the band before they recorded their first album which included a minor hit, "Good Old Rock and Roll," in 1969. He rejoined the group for their second album, Albion Doowah. In the mid-'70s, Ungar was a member of the David Bromberg Band, a group dubbed, "The World's first folk orchestra." Between 1980 and 1984, Ungar played with Fiddle Fever, an eclectic string band that also included fiddler Matt Glaser, fiddle and viola player Evan Stover, acoustic guitarist Russ Barenberg and acoustic bassist Molly Mason. Although he worked in a duo with his then-wife Lyn Hardy, following Fiddle Fever's disbanding, the marriage fell apart with Ungar going on to work in a duo with Mason. Ungar and Mason were married in 1991.

In addition to his work on the soundtrack of Ken Burns' Civil War, Ungar has composed and performed on the soundtracks of Burns' documentaries including Baseball, The West, Thomas Jefferson, and Lewis & Clark. Ungar's fiddling was also heard on the soundtracks of films Brother's Keeper and Legends of the Fall. Ungar and Mason have made numerous appearances on Garrison Keillor's National Public Radio show, A Prairie Home Companion. In 1992, Ungar and Mason accompanied vocalist Thomas Hampson on an album-length tribute to the songs of Stephen Foster, American Dreamer. Harvest Home: Music for All Seasons followed in 1999. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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fiddlers elbows - wonderful - captivating - peaceful!
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Beautiful song. Have loved it since the PBS Civil War series. As we here in Virginia celebrate the final year of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, this song is especially meaningful.
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jim.woods8
dream of friends now gone
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Until Again
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Ashokan Farewell simply beautiful!
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First heard Ashoken Farewell in this in the Civil War series and loved it. Loving American classical music.
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play some more. I am in the ,mood for this .
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rpruitt661
This music takes me to another place and time when I was young and living in the country. I can imagine that my mother and dad would have waltzed to these tunes. Beautiful composition.
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Gettin' down to the roots! Ten thumbs up!
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"Cows on the hill" is just amazing, absolutely amazing!
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woodsnwater1
Incredibly evocative, utterly beautiful. ..
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charmels26
Oh my word, thank goodness I have ears to hear such beautiful music.
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On my 90's alternative station...al t h o u g h not bad. I will have to look into more of this.
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Pure Heaven to listen to. They really make great music love it.:o))
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good vibes
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very nice...but not as good as Doc & The Lady.
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Sounds great.
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I wanta dance around like ah Clown...
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Just makes me want to ride my horse across a field while listening to this:)
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Cool
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Somebody really should have credited Aaron Copland for 3/4 of this piece.
I know it's a folk melody, but that was totally Copland's interpretati o n
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feskoro
Being from upstate NY, my cousin introduced me to Ashokan Farewell. Now my favorite. Awesome! Kudos to Jay and Molly.
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Even though played a lot, I love this. I also love their The Lover's Waltz.
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just like a sunny autum day
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Beautiful piece!
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dklapaska
My family is from Appalachia, going back to the 1760s. This song is so evocative of their history. It brings tears to my eyes.
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Ashokan Farewell was played at my father's funeral by my brother playing the violin.
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on my new age insrumental station. lol. made me stop in the middle of doing homework XD loveeeeitttt t
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rjmcmichael7
This melody makes me cry and fills my heart with joy at the same time!
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henboker3
Yes, evocative of the sad Civil War years and those Ken Burn's images burned into our hearts and heads. I just finished a book on the Battle of Shiloh, the place of peace. Ungar and Mason bring that real peace that we hope will ultimately come to all.
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polkow4132
Jay Ungar is my favorite all styles type fiddler.
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This guy made similar music, but the video is soo stupid, though! http://youtu . b e / 5 w t O q 0 8 W _ L w
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I love this. It definitely has both Americana and Irish influences.
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on my coldplay radio. i actually like it.
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ruthadams200 3
this takes me to a good place : )
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Good stuff!
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blukaliko61
I love this.
Willow Fae
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love it!
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johnr890
sounds like music from the movie Sweet Land
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docdvm9
Met Jay and first wife Lyn at college when we attended KSU back in the late 60's-early 70's. Became friends and have enjoyed watching Jay's career grow over the years from the early days playing at "The Pit" in Manhattan, KS, to now achieving the notice that his incredible talent deserves. He's also one of the nicest people I've ever known and it appears that he has found his soulmate in Molly.
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bluesoulbird
cool stuff
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davidyonkie
One of my all time favorites! I first fell in love when I purchased the PBS Civil War CD.
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penoomoo
This is a beautiful and sad tune, performed and recorded beautifully. Whoever the genius was that chose the music for Burn's 'Civil War' has a special star in the heavens for his/her work.
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awesomeness!

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