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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: A Banjo Flower Propagates the Art - Interview with Janet Burton

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

Paul Roberts - Posted - 09/25/2013:  19:25:27

Janet Burton brings to mind Alan Lomax - a musician, folklorist, ethnomusicologist, archivist, writer, scholar and teacher - with whom she holds a lot in common.

My recent interview with Janet Burton shines a new light on traditional banjo music. Click here for an interview with one of Banjo Hangout's all-time favorite Banjo Flowers.



JanetB - Posted - 09/25/2013:  19:44:46

This is so nice of you, Paul!  It was much fun to do, but a bit of hard work, too.

For anyone reading this, here's the story:  Paul asked me if I'd take part in an interview and I agreed, not realizing that he could rattle off deep questions in one second that would take me 3 hours each to answer.  The big benefit is the introspective thought it inspired.  I'm grateful for this unique keepsake he's given me.

Some of the questions are about my past musical experiences and adventures, how I use music in my first grade class, what I feel about Banjo Hangout, and the way in which I came about taking Skype lessons this year with Adam Hurt.  A variety of several tunes which I've posted in past Sound Off threads are included in the interview on Paul's website, as well as some interesting pictures of my musical past, including the Fire Falls of Yosemite and my own photo of a treed cinnamon bear. Hope you enjoy what you read, see, and hear.

Paul Roberts - Posted - 09/25/2013:  19:50:33

Well, obviously I just sat back and enjoyed the ride - one of the best musician interviews I've ever read.

Janet always has such a generous way of communicating, that gives the reader a wealth of information, insight and inspiration.   

Marc Nerenberg - Posted - 09/26/2013:  03:48:40

That's a great interview! Thoroughly enjoyable - and very thorough!

jamesd - Posted - 09/26/2013:  06:05:38

Really enjoyed this interview with Janet.  She really has an interesting life and makes some fine music and she does not mind sharing her knowledge with others.  Paul, good interview!

jimh269b - Posted - 09/26/2013:  06:40:45

excellent interview paul and janet I really enjoyed it

strokestyle - Posted - 09/26/2013:  08:11:19

Janet and Paul I really enjoyed that interview!


Paul R - Posted - 09/26/2013:  08:54:43

Great interview. As a retired teacher, I especially like the use of music in the classroom.

Janna - Posted - 09/26/2013:  10:43:03

Janet is my friend who helped me to check my new songs lyrics! So I'm very glad to read this intervew, because it's very interesting to know more about her! Thank you very much for this interview, Paul! yes

Paul Roberts - Posted - 09/26/2013:  20:47:35

The problem with interviewing Janet is that just when you think you've kind of caught up with where she's at, in the present, she's already done 15 new things and taking her interests in myriad directions. I think the only way to deal with it would be to have an ongoing interview with her or column written by her. Too much is going by, and we shouldn't miss any of it, because this Banjo Flower has her hands on the pulse of a most beautiful old-time style.  

JanetB - Posted - 09/27/2013:  05:56:32

Thanks, Paul.  You're so nice!  And thanks, BHO buddies taking the time to look at the interview.  This is a time in my life to do what I really love to do with my free time.  I enjoy learning about mountain music and the more I learn, the more I see there is to learn.  It's a happy sojourn in life's journey.

 I had a crossroads experience upon graduating from UCSB--a choice of three paths:  work for CCC as a traveling music presenter, get training to teach in a Montissori School, or get a California teachers credential.  I chose the latter and spent these many past years raising a family and teaching.  It's wonderful to reap the fruits of my life right now with my musical pursuit.  Here's a tune I wrote honoring my wonderful daughter who has the greenest thumb I can imagine, unless it would be her brother's.  (By the way, many on BHO know that Paul is an inspiration for writing one's own compositions.  I'm told that mine have an old-time feel.  I thank you for that, Paul.)

Charlotte's Garden 3

Charlotte's Garden

J-Walk - Posted - 09/27/2013:  16:33:11

Excellent interview with a fascinating lady. I really enjoyed reading that. I've always wanted to know more about Janet, and now I do!

banjered - Posted - 09/27/2013:  17:31:58

Real nice reading about Janet. It answers the question I had - "She's so good what can she learn from Adam?" What I mean is that at a certain point, artistic expression is not so much better than/less than, but more of an expression of who the artist is as a person and how they chose to express their art. Adam is an amazing whiz, no question about that. But so is Janet and I just really appreciate her tasteful, lyrical expressions of music/tunes. But now I see she is a real explorer of banjo art and no (banjo) stone shall be left unturned. Thanks Paul, Janet, and Adam! Banjered

aeroweenie - Posted - 09/27/2013:  18:19:38

Delightful interview!   I enjoy Janet's playing and now know she can sing too!  I had no idea she has such a diverse banjo/musical background.

J-Walk - Posted - 09/27/2013:  18:32:04

Let's hope this is the first of many interviews with BHO members.

Paul Roberts - Posted - 09/27/2013:  19:34:50

I agree with J-Walk that more BHO members should be interviewed. I've had the pleasure of interviewing quite a few members and it's been a real treat. All my interviews can be accessed here

I know some others have done interviews, too, and I would encourage more members to take the plunge. There's a lot of talent, knowledge and history to be mined. As an international banjo community, there's nothing like Banjo Hangout!


SCclawman - Posted - 09/30/2013:  11:14:02

What a fantastic interview! I really really enjoyed it, as I always enjoy Janet's recordings.

Also, congrats on having the song included in the banjo newsletter. I didn't know that! Way to go!

goose - Posted - 09/30/2013:  18:40:33

Ive been waiting for a chance to sit down and read your interview Janet, your students are lucky to have you as a teacher and also someone to bring music into their lives as well at the same time. Really enjoyed reading and getting to know more about you Janet, it's a pleasure to know you on here and to be able to hear your wonderful music. Thank you Paul as well for this great interview~.

Todd Treadway - Posted - 09/30/2013:  20:31:01

Wonderful article! Janet was the first person to welcome me here and comment on a tune I posted. At the time, I didn't know anything about her except (after watching some of her amazing catalog of videos and MP3s) that she was extremely prolific. Nice to get to know the personal side of one of the BHO's biggest assets!

PS -- Absolutely love "Charlotte's Garden"!

jack_beuthin - Posted - 10/01/2013:  07:54:07

I stayed home from work today because I was not feeling well. Just read the interview and am feeling better already. To Janet and Paul both--very well done! Thanks for brightening my day.

JanetB - Posted - 10/01/2013:  17:37:28

I'm very happy that the interview has been enjoyable reading for several people.  Banjo Hangout friends are a mutual support group.  We encourage each others' music and are genuinely interested in things musical.  I'd like to read more interviews, too, and hope Paul doesn't wait too long to do another.  What do you say, Paul?

Paul Roberts - Posted - 10/01/2013:  19:10:14

Huh? Did someone call me?

I'm now interviewing BHO member Ho C Ying. Janet is helping me. Anybody have any questions for C Ying? C Ying is pronounced  诗莹 by the way. The world keeps getting smaller; now we have banjo neighbors in all parts of the world. Hey, here's a new slogan: "Banjo is the Universal Language." I see huge fortunes from bumper stickers, t-shirts, t-paper, etc.

As you can see by my not-too-overly-complex questions, in my interview with Janet, anyone can be an interviewer.  I hope more people do - that way, we can all interview each other.smiley  Everyone can have a turn as "interviewer" and "interviewee."

I just checked my dictionary to make sure 'interviewee' is a word, because I thought I've heard it, but never used it. It is a word, although it looks a little weird, like it might need to promenade to the restroom.

If you want a really easy interviewee (wee!) you might try to interview a girl named Janet Burton. One word can be enough - and off she goes... In fact, Janet could easily interview herself. That way, she could play the duo role of "interviewer-interviewee," which I believe would take the art form of banjo playing, banjo history and banjo insight into entirely new dimensions.

I'm sorry, Janet, what was I supposed to talk about? I could be interviewee of thee.wink       

Edited by - Paul Roberts on 10/01/2013 19:14:06

Todd Treadway - Posted - 10/01/2013:  19:26:16

Looking forward to the Ho C Ying interview!

Paul Roberts - Posted - 10/01/2013:  20:17:40

Todd, I've been listening to some of your music. That cigar box sounds great!

JanetB - Posted - 10/02/2013:  06:10:44


Originally posted by Paul Roberts

I just checked my dictionary to make sure 'interviewee' is a word, because I thought I've heard it, but never used it. It is a word, although it looks a little weird, like it might need to promenade to the restroom.   

Paul, I detect first grade humor here.

If you want to read about Paul's extremely interesting background, Jim Reed and I interviewed him on BHO and it's in the archives.  Ask him about musical therapy.  I think he created the word.  He may have gone to his own therapy a bit much yesterday and I'm thinking of that scene in Mary Poppins where they all went floating up to the ceiling singing, "I love to laugh, ha, ha, ha, ha, loud and long and clear.... I love to laugh, ha, ha, ha, ha, so everybody can hear....The more I laugh, ha, ha, ha, ha, the more it seems to me.....The more I laugh, ha, ha, ha, ha, the more I'm a merrier me."

Marinie Toman - Posted - 10/02/2013:  06:50:43

fantastic, i really enjoyed reading that interview

Paul Roberts - Posted - 10/02/2013:  16:24:04

Janet's extensive use of music in the classroom sets a high watermark for arts in education. It makes me realize that I've been too long away from bringing music into the schools. I've always found the little ones to be the most appreciate age set.

JanetB - Posted - 10/14/2013:  17:38:52

Just want to say thanks to Paul and all who read the interview.   I've been calling it a keepsake.    And I hope Paul will post another before too long.   The musical bond we share is strong and, personally, I've gotten to better know people I admire, including Paul, Adam Hurt, Jim Reed, Laurence Diehl, Tom Berghan (who just collabbed with me on a future TOTW movie), Ric Hollander, and Banjo Judy (who I actually got to meet and jam with in Berkeley, CA).    Ho C Ying will hopefully add to Paul's creative interview compilation before too long. 

If you want to know more about Paul Roberts, try reading through this archived topic--it's quite interesting:  Jim Reed BHO thread interviewing Paul Roberts   And so, Paul, see ya later on the Hangout!  blush

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