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Matokie Slaughter

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Matokie Slaughter
Birth nameMatokie Worrell
BornDecember 21, 1919
Pulaski, Virginia, U.S.
DiedDecember 31, 1999(1999-12-31) (aged 80)
Pulaski, Virginia, U.S.
Genresclawhammer, old time music
Instrument(s)banjo, fiddle
Years active1940s–1990s
LabelsCounty Records, Marimac Recordings

Matokie Worrell Slaughter (December 21, 1919[1] – December 31, 1999), sometimes known as "Tokie" Slaughter, was an American clawhammer banjo player.

Born in Pulaski, Virginia, to a large musical family, Slaughter performed regularly with her family on local radio in the 1940s. She and her sister Virgie (later Virgie Worrel Richardson) also appeared regularly at local fiddler's conventions. She was discovered by the larger old-time music community when some of her recordings appeared on Charles Faurot's clawhammer banjo anthologies during the 1960s. Later, she made many appearances at folk music festivals and workshops throughout the US and formed a band called Matokie Slaughter & The Back Creek Buddies with her sister Virgie and old-time music revivalist Alice Gerrard. The band issued a cassette-only release, Saro, in 1990.[2][3][4]

Slaughter is known for her unique, driving style of clawhammer banjo playing, with complex noting and double-noting and featuring both uppicking and downpicking.[2] She also occasionally played fiddle.

During the 1990s, San Francisco artist Margaret Kilgallen began drawing freight-train graffiti using the name "Matokie Slaughter" as an homage to the original Matokie Slaughter. A fictionalized version of Matokie Slaughter also figured prominently in many of Kilgallen's non-graffiti artworks. She died ten days after her 80th birthday in 1999.[5]


  1. ^ Social Security Death Index
  2. ^ a b "Here & There" by John Currie, The Old-Time Herald 7:3, Spring 2000.
  3. ^ "Historic Recordings Tell Clawhammer Banjo History", All Things Considered, March 21, 2006. (links to RealAudio audio files)
  4. ^ Matokie Slaughter at AllMusic
  5. ^
  • Matokie Slaughter at Digital Library of Appalachia. – links to streaming MP3 audio of a number of Matokie Slaughter performances.