Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Mid 19th Century Minstrel Tambourine

A great reproduction made by Dave Kirchner in Maryland. Goat skin head.

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Comment by Sule Greg Wilson on January 4, 2021 at 9:14pm

The scant descriptions that managed to stay in my head (no citations!) described very little subtlety in tambo playing.  Of course, I assume the prejudice of the writers towards sensationalism.  If we think of the cultures that were coming to the stage through minstrelsy's performers, I do not believe there was much in the way of percussive subtlety, based upon my experience of what Western Europe has to offer in that realm--folk traditions notwithstanding.  Though it has long existed in some form, the bodhran as a staple of "Celtic" music is a rather recent addition.  Italians, Basques, Ottomans and Moors did not abound in Early America for the Virginia Minstrels to "borrow" their techniques.  I study the images, the milieu, and extrapolate.

Comment by Sule Greg Wilson on January 4, 2021 at 9:23pm

Joel Hooks' idea re the "de-volution" of tambo is real.  If we look at '60s groups, a tambo is for tapping one one's hip and mildly shaking, period.  Percussion in the West I've experienced & read of is held in even lower esteem than the banjo--of course, it would die out/not be documented.   We CAN make some leaps of faith: it was more than "out in front...90 degrees to the floor, and pound it with the other hand in time or shake it", otherwise, it would not have stayed around, IMHO.  There's more, but it's time for dinner... 

Comment by Sule Greg Wilson on January 4, 2021 at 9:30pm

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