A book about the rebellious history of the banjo

Originally published at: A book about the rebellious history of the banjo | Boing Boing

Rhiannon Giddens is bad ass.


Always good to see recognition for people I know and respect deeply!


I’m about halfway through Well of Souls now, and it’s very good. Does a very nice job of filling out the context of the historial record, which for the colonial era is fairly scant. Also good is The Banjo by Laurent Dubois.

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Former banjoing street-busker here. I’ve accumulated several banjo-like objects over the decades, distinguished by calfskin or synthetic resonator heads, variously with 4, 5, 8, 11, or 12 strings, in sizes ranging from soprano 'ukulele to full lutes, and made in Taiwan, Türkiye, or Michigan. Their histories are complex; their construction, opportune. For fun, y’all can make a tin-cup banjo pretty easily. It’s cheap, too.


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