Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Jim Along Josie with Second Line Drumming

Another experiment blending early banjo style with percussion. Drums are a little loud in the mix. Make sure to turn up your bass speakers on this one. We kn...

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Comment by Canaan Myskowski on May 10, 2014 at 9:30am

Mark, this sounds great.  I not sure if I want to dance or march to war, so many messages coming at me from this tune. These tunes sound best with percussionist helping you along, If only I could find one....  

Comment by Mark Weems on May 10, 2014 at 6:20pm

Thanks Canaan, most early accounts of banjos have them alongside drums, and it's really fun to see what happens when you put them together. I believe it's an important study for us to think about what kind of rhythmic infections, syncopation etc might have accompanied these tunes. Many early banjo sightings are from the New Orleans area and second line drumming comes from there as well. I like this beat a lot although the drumming here is probably a little overkill. 

Comment by Al Smitley on May 10, 2014 at 8:11pm

I guess this brings up what I recall reading, in the past, which perhaps is merely a tale.

What I recall was that slaves were not allowed to keep drums for fear that they could signal to assist in organized uprisings.  Myth?  Or perhaps it depended on the size/output of the drum(?)

Comment by Tim Twiss on May 10, 2014 at 8:37pm

I like the experiments. I'm taking out a killer group next month....old tuba, drummer, and minstrel banjo. We'll attack the standards, and see what happens. Can't wait. A tasteful drummer can do wonders with a kick and a snare. Add de jawbone and tambo......ahhh

Comment by Mark Weems on May 10, 2014 at 9:28pm

Al, mostly that is true, but the Gulf Coast area, which includes New Orleans, has always been very "creole" and strongly Roman Catholic, which made it much more tolerant of other cultures, religions etc. Yes, drumming was allowed. Here is a little history of Congo Square

http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/congo-square-soul-ne...

Comment by Mark Weems on May 10, 2014 at 9:29pm

Sounds good Tim, make sure you get some videos and share.

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