Give Me The Banjo

“Give Me the Banjo”.

“The piano may do for love-sick girls who lace themsleves to skeletons, and lunch on chalk, pickles and slate pencils. But give me the banjo….
When you want genuine music — music that will come right home to you like a bad quarter, suffuse your system like strychnine whisky, go right through you like Brandreth’s pills, ramify your whole constitution like the measles, and break out on your hide like the pin-feather pimples on a picked goose, — when you want all this, just smash your piano, and invoke the glory-beaming banjo!”
Mark Twain in “Enthusiastic Eloquence,” San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle, 23 June 1865


Check out this documentary about the history of american folk music. It describes the banjo and the first ‘truly american’ instrument and winds us through the links between the banjo and the creation of a ‘new’ ‘american’ sound. This documentary is truly fascinating. Plus Steve Martin narrates. Need I say more?


Watch PBS Arts from the Blue Ridge Mountains: Give Me the Banjo on PBS. See more from The Arts.

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