Wednesday, 4 November 2009


I've been watching BBC4's Folk America series this afternoon. It's easy to get a bit picky with these kinds of things as you tend to see the same footage you've seen elsewhere. You have to remind yourself that there might not be any more footage. Unless someone turns up a big pile of Leadbelly film that's your lot folks.

Following on from another look at Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie and cohorts was a cobbled together clips affair from the Jools Holland Later show, where some work experience lad had been told 'Go through all this footage and find anything with a banjo in it'. The lad did well (before being sent out for latte's), turning up, among others, Chatham County Line and the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

Chatham County Line perfoming the Carolinian from their album IV.

The banjo is a product of Africa. So says It's interesting to read on the Carolina Chocolate Drops website that Among black ensembles, the banjo often set the pace and if a fiddle was present and it often was not, it served as accompaniment and not as the lead instrument as is more common in the Appalachian tradition. When I think of music containing the banjo I do tend to have a very white view of things in my head, which is historically very innacurate. Horace Weston, who died in 1890 (before having chance to upload himself on to Youtube) was a big star of minstrel shows of the day, and pieces of his music such as The Egyptian Fandango are still played today.

I fear this might be one of my 'educational' posts.

No comments:

Post a Comment