07 August 2018

Banjo history from the Bitter Southerner

The BIB editor writes:

The Bitter Southerner online magazine (now five* years old) has just published 'So you think you know the banjo?', an article by Jenna Strucko designed to correct misconceptions about the origins of the banjo and its music, and their relationship to the image of the South.

The article is based on interviews with the members of the Carolina Chocolate Drops (below: photo by Whitney Neal), all of whom came to the band from different backgrounds. There are plenty of audio links giving the musicians' views in their own voices. Strucko writes: 'In all honesty, this project may have affected me more deeply than any other I've had the chance to work on. [...] I felt more aware and challenged than ever, but also exhilarated and inspired.'

Worth reading? Yes! Our only quibble comes near the beginning, where it's alleged that Taylor Swift 'has unapologetically traded in her five-string'. All the images we've seen of her with a 'banjo' show what looks like a 6-string Deering banjo-guitar, played with a plectrum. But no hard feelings - the last words of the article are 'the banjo is the friendliest of all instruments'.

*'Three' appeared erroneously when this post was first published, owing to misreading on our part.

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