Saturday, February 16, 2013

America's Instrument


Last night I watched Give Me the Banjo (2011), "a comprehensive look at a quintessential American musical instrument, the banjo, from its African roots to contemporary jazz and into the 21st century." Narrated by Steve Martin, the documentary appropriately begins with the Carolina Chocolate Drops and concludes with Abigail Washburn, both of whom you've heard here. Of all the new insights I gained, the most interesting was a new-found appreciation of Blackface Minstrelsy, which we are taught to see as embarrassing, but which the documentary rightly calls the first attempt to create an indigenous American cultural form.

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1 Comments:

Blogger M. Jordan Lichens said...

I rank the banjo as one of America's great contributions to culture. I enjoyed this doc and--despite being a theologian and political hound--your views on music keep me intrigued. In fact, I never heard of Carolina Chocolate Drops before stopping by.

February 17, 2013 at 12:55 PM  

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