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  1. #1

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    (by American I mean the Americas, not just USA)

    There has been some serious attention paid to the music that was collected to form the basis of the Minstrelsy tradition in the US, with period banjos that tie into African instruments like the Akonting. Joel Sweeney, the founder of blackface Minstrelsy and populizer of the banjo, collected and notated music from slaves in the 1830s which he appropriated to create his minstrel shows.



    There is Lundu in Brazil, but this is a recent discovery I know little about - not sure if this is a modern interpretation or harpsichord + drums was a real thing in 18th century Brazil



    others?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Oh, you had to ask. I could put a bunch of stuff here, but I've already got a webpage devoted to it:

    https://robmackillop.net/banjo/early-fingerstyle-banjo/

    but here's one to whet your appetite. This one - unlike the others on that site - is fretted:




    One day I was looking out my window at the roadside, and there was a beautiful woman I though looked just like Rhiannon Giddens...and then she turned into my garden and knocked on my door. It WAS Rhiannon Giddens! Turns out she has relatives who live near Edinburgh. She stayed for a couple of hours, and we played each other pieces on my banjos, fretted and fretless. I was star struck! Was this really happening? But it was. What a wonderful woman she is. She made a video of me playing for her private viewing, which blew me away.

  4. #3

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    Goes back to this of course


  5. #4
    Great story and cool site, thanks for posting - you cheat like me with classical fingerstyle rather than clawhammer, although I have only dabbled a bit with my banjo


  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Goes back to this of course

    Cool tune - no high drone string though, and from Mali, not a major source of slaves

    The Gambian / Senegalese Akonting is a more direct ancestor, as it has the high drone string played by the thumb


  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by BWV
    Great story and cool site, thanks for posting - you cheat like me with classical fingerstyle rather than clawhammer
    Oh, don't call me a cheat, sir! If you had read my webpage you would have realised it was devoted to the history of fingerstyle banjo for this repertoire. No cheating involved. I could play clawhammer:



    But the early style was not really clawhammer, more Stroke Style which clawhammer grew out of.

    But all that aside, the roots of the early African style can still be heard. The aconting is the closest African banjo-like instrument:



    I love this stuff.

    Ah, some crossover with the above post.

  8. #7
    OK, fair enough. You play clawhammer very well and I cannot at all and definitely cheat - I gravitated toward nylon string banjo because my background is classical and steel strings tear up my nails and finger picks are too ackward

  9. #8

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    To me the influence can be heard strongest in the Aconting song that Rob posted. You can really hear that connection. Thanks!

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    To me the influence can be heard strongest in the Aconting song
    Here's some good research on the akonting and banjo: Historical Narratives of the Akonting and Banjo | Ethnomusicology Review

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    To me the influence can be heard strongest in the Aconting song that Rob posted. You can really hear that connection. Thanks!
    in turn that reminded me of the great taj mahal





    cheers