Recent Media Additions

Angela Wellman

If there’s any instrument in the quiver of American music that can simultaneously summon heartbreak, salvation and joy, it just might be the banjo. Its earliest origins lie deep within the Black American experience. And that’s where Angela Wellman came to find it. 

John Tyree

John Tyree (1914-?) performs a rendition of the traditional Scots-Irish ballad-turned American banjo standard “The Cuckoo Bird” (Sometimes known as “Coo Coo Bird”, or simply “Coo Coo” or “Cuckoo”). The song in its American form has little relation to the original Scots-Irish ballad and has considerable influence from African American traditions.

Rufus Kasey

Rufus Kasey plays a short excerpt of his rendition of the traditional banjo standard “Ruben’s” (or Rueben’s) Train on a 5-string resonator banjo for ethnomusicologist Kip Lornell at his home in Bedford County, Virginia on June 22nd, 1984.

Lauren discusses and plays the buchundu 7 23 08MPG

The buchundo  is an instrument similar to the akonting (ekonting) played by the Manjago people of Senegal and Gambia.  Lauren discusses the buchundu and answers questions from Chuck Levy and Greg C. Adams.  

The right hand used to play the buchundu is different from the motion used by the Jola akonting players.  The Jola right hadn techniques is nearly indentical to minstrel/stroke style and clawhammer.