I have been recruited to present a "History of the Banjo" presentation for a local historical society. What credible sources might be suggested for me to put it together. I would want to begin with…Continue
"Don't forget Bollman and Guara's America's instrument which provides the history of the banjo in regard to the construction of banjos over the 19th and early 20th century.
Again, as someone who does this regularly on all levels from…"
"Carlin's book is useful for what it contains, Cece's work from nearly 30 years ago on banjo orings is completely supercede by the materials in Laurent Dubois's The Banjo: America's African Instrument and more directly by Banjo…"
"Gee, Al, that's pretty ambitious!! I got a lot out of The Birth of the Banjo - Joel Walker Sweeney & Early Minstrelsy (Bob Carlin) and African Banjo Echoes in Appalachia (Cecelia Conway)...hope that helps..."
I have been recruited to present a "History of the Banjo" presentation for a local historical society. What credible sources might be suggested for me to put it together. I would want to begin with the 1) Akonting (maybe showing it being played on YouTube and then 2) use illustrations/paintings and text to describe what the enslaved were playing 3) Joel Sweeney and his learning from the enslaved players, 4) Popularity of the minstrel show 5) The tutorials of the 1850s/'60s, 6) changes in…See More
This is from a program on CSPAN3 from the Virginia Museum of History & Culture. The exhibit curator said it was a gourd fiddle. I'm not trying to catch an error but, what do people on this site think? The bridge (though perhaps not original)…
"I'm pretty sure that the CSPAN3 program about the Battle of Antietam in which the program was filmed in the Pry Barn airs again this Sunday at 10 am. I say "I'm pretty sure" because I can't recall whether the…"
Al, That's the kind of thing you can either add as a link in a thread (there's a way to upload files to a given thread, click on the paperclip icon), or something as generally useful as that we can put under resources. Elaine has been going through period songsters and has a list of over 1800 songs at this point from the time period. The list is growing. I would put your spreadsheet under documetation.
I find that the most useful thing about the Weidlich book is his index of Minstrel Songs and which instructor they are in. It would be great to have some resources like that here on the site.
I'm not a re-enactor (though I do have a suit of funny clothes in the closet) so I usually don't always have to limit myself to completely period-appropriate performances. When I am doing a historic perfromance I use the "period" instruments that I happen to play — wooden flute, Scottish smallpipes, fiddle and sing unaccompanied. I've never earned the trick of self-accompaniment with fiddle. It's all I can do to play in tune when I'm not singing.
I mostly do 1812 songs from the Canadian point of view. My repertoire comes from old manuscripts and early published sources and also includes songs of the time that survived to be collected as part of the folk tradition in Ontario. I've been accumulating this stuff since the early 80s. Canada was much less urban than the eastern US at that time so there weren't nearly as many printed broadsides produced up here. Your Library of Congress website has lots of American 1812 songs online. (I'm envious)
In a concert setting, I'll usually perform this stuff in a more "folksingerly" context, as music from the past that has survived into the present. I use non-period instruments like steel-string guitar, mandolin and concertina and arrange songs to suit my own tastes — which to most people's ears are probably pretty arcane.