The Banjo is an African Instrument
Highly educational Instagram post right here from Gahmya Drummond-Bey, that my wife shared with me:
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It's time for a history lesson. True inclusion also requires relearning our history. 💛💛💛 What's your favorite country song? #countrymusic #blacklivesmatter #teachersfollowteachers #blm #diversity #inclusion #allyship #ally #evolvedteacher #blackhistory #sharethemicnow #historylesson #banjo #lilnasx #debunked #nojusticenopeace✊🏾
While I’ve long known the banjo was an African instrument, it’s nice to dig in more and understand that at a slightly deeper level from some wider and more diverse sources. My previous knowledge was largely rooted in some fellow white dudes explanations, like Béla Fleck’s Throw Down Your Heart and Bill Evans explanations. Don’t miss David Holt talking to Rhiannon Giddens though.
- Huffpost: Why Is Country Music So White?
- PBS: African American Roots and Influences in Country Music
- CountryFan80: Country Music Has African Roots!
- TED: Queen Esther: The true origins of country music
The kind of music I’m most involved in is old time, which I think you could argue has an even more direct line to African music and instruments than country and bluegrass. I’d do well to remember that, as my experience on a day to day basic with the music is playing with people and going to events that are predominately white.
So yep. Blues. Jazz. Hip-hop. Reggae. Funk. Gospel. Soul. Swing. Zydeco. Country. It all is rooted in Black music.