Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

My son Dan plays the bouzouki and banjo. He saw this and said he thinks he found his future bride.  hehe

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Uncle Dave and LeRoy Troy all in one.

Well he better always come home on time and pick up his socks...she's doing some serious waling on that thing.

"Virtuosos frequently play the komuz in a variety of different positions; over the shoulder, between the knees and upside down... One piece ("mash botoy") consists of a simple tune repeated many times, each with a new stroke, as a test of the performer’s skill and creativity." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Komuz

There was a Kirghiz graduate student with the impressive name Elmira Köchümkulkïzï working on a PhD in history at the University of Washington, hm, maybe fifteen years ago (she was working with oral history).  She played komuz, not so much the flashy stuff seen here, more of what seemed to me to be authentic folk music (not that this isn't, but it's obviously more for show, and not as musical as Elmira's playing, honestly), and she sang beautifully with it.  I recorded her in my studio here, and I was so frustrated that I could never get any small label to even listen to the stuff.  Out-of-hand, everyone I talked to thought it must be too weird and exotic, but it was wonderful and completely accessible.  One of the coolest songs was one she composed called "Camel Eyes."  She said it was for her "betrothed" back in Kyrgyzstan, and I asked what the title meant.  She said that the camel's eyes fill with tears when they go into the desert, for protection, and her fiancee's eyes were just like that, the last time she had seen him.  Alas, the project still sits on my hard drive. 

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