REVIEW: GIVE ME THE BANJO
GIVE ME THE BANJO is a musical odyssey through 200 years of American history and culture. Brought to the New World by enslaved Africans, the banjo has long struggled for musical respect despite its vital role in shaping many distinctive American forms: the minstrel show, ragtime, and early jazz, old-time folk and the folk revival, as well as blues, bluegrass, country, and new hybrids yet to be labeled..
Ten years in the making, GIVE ME THE BANJO is a celebration of “America’s quintessential instrument” by historians, instrument-makers, folklorists and players of all styles..
Narrated by comedian and banjo enthusiast Steve Martin, GIVE ME THE BANJO features rare archival film footage, recordings and new performances that uncover the instrument’s colorful and contested history from its African origins to the present day. The program brings together a diverse array of modern banjoists who explore the innovations of past masters like Joel Walker Sweeney, Gus Cannon, Charlie Poole and the great Earl Scruggs..
GIVE ME THE BANJO also features performances and first-person insights from Grammyaward winners Béla Fleck, The Carolina Chocolate Drops and Pete Seeger, who demonstrates techniques to his grandson Tao; Earl Scruggs, who popularized the three-finger style that defines bluegrass music; Mike Seeger and John Cohen as they perform Southern roots music from the 1920s and 30s; as well as Abigail Washburn, Don Vappie, Bill Keith and Tony Trischka..
“What we found compelling, and what drove this project from the inception, is the fact that you can really get a new perspective on the story of American popular music with the banjo as the vehicle,” says Emmy-winning producer/director Marc Fields. “It truly cuts across all categories and boundaries of race, class, region or genre. The instrument is at the root of roots music and at the crossroads where folk tradition meets commercialism, yet it’s still struggling for the respect and serious attention it deserves.”.
English 5.1 and DTS Surround Sound
A profile of Uncle Dave
An appreciation of the 4-string banjo in jazz and
A visit with Dr. Ralph
Performances by Taj Mahal, Riley Baugus and
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