The Music Maker Relief Foundation is pleased to announce that blues guitarist Drink Small has been named a 2015 National Endowment for The Arts National Heritage Fellow. The Fellowship recognizes recipients’ artistic excellence and supports their continuing contributions to the nation’s traditional arts heritage. Small joins the ranks of other NEA Fellowship honorees, such as blues legends B.B. King and Mavis Staples.
Small is one of eleven artists of the folk and traditional arts to be
honored with the Fellowship in 2015. A blues musician, Small is honored
among artists in a range of traditional crafts, from Slovak fiber arts
to the circus arts and more.
The Bishopville, S.C., native started playing music at the age of 11,
practicing on an old pump organ. After playing the piano in church and
learning to sing, Small eventually picked up the guitar and started
playing gospel and the blues.
Small joined The Spiritualaires, playing with the likes of Sam Cooke,
The Harmonizing Four, and The Staple Singers. He became a founding
member of the Music Maker Relief Foundation in 1994, helping to preserve
the southern traditional music he continues to perform to this day.
Small will be honored with other 2015 NEA National Heritage Fellows at an awards ceremony and free concert on October 1st and 2nd in Washington, D.C.