01 February 2016

Your banjo (and you) can be part of history

As the BIB announced three weeks ago (11 Jan.), Roni Stoneman (left), First Lady of the 5-String Banjo, will return to Ireland this summer, combining a friendly visit with select performances, including (as in 2013) a show at the Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival in June.

As any banjo-player knows, travelling with a professional bluegrass banjo in a hard-shell case can be hard on one's hands, arms, and back; and Roni would be glad to leave her bow-tie Mastertone 'warhorse' (see photo) at home if she could count on being able to use a decent banjo in Ireland for about a month - from late May to late June.

Hiring instruments is not as common here as in the US but isn't unknown, and that option will be explored. Meanwhile - if you have a good banjo that you keep as a reserve, or are otherwise not constantly using, give some thought to the idea of being able to say that it has been played by a historic figure in bluegrass: the first woman to be recorded playing Scruggs-style banjo, one of the stars of a long-running TV series, and daughter of one of the first major American old-time recording artists. Drop the BIB editor an e-mail if the idea appeals.

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