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The Banjo and African American Musical Culture on the onlin Oxford African American Studies Center

Posted by writerrad on Thursday, November 12, 2015

like this


“The Banjo and African American Musical Culture” is   photo essay I published online in 2014 through the Oxford African American Studies Center, an online resource maintained by Oxford University Press and Harvard’s Dubois Center.


   It is 14 different web pages providing an overview of the origins of the banjo, including its African Antecedents, African Caribbean Birth, and African American beginnings as well as a survey of the development of African American banjo playign from colonial times to the 21st Century Black Banjo Gathering.

OUP regularly alternates this piece from the paid access part of this web site to the section available to the public.

Not just in regard to African American banjo, but in regard to issues like origins, minstrelsy, the explosion of the commercial banjo industry, and the rise of tenor and other jazz banjos,  this represents one of the most comprehensive pieces of Banjo history available,   Written with the support and criticism of some of the world's leading scholar of banjo playing and banjo roots, it represents the state of the art in scholarship about the banjo and African Americans.


visit the site and let me know what you think.


Contact me if you have trouble.


5 comments on “The Banjo and African American Musical Culture on the onlin Oxford African American Studies Center”

Wyozark Says:
Saturday, November 14, 2015 @3:52:33 PM

Enjoyed the history. Thank you for providing it. ~ Wyozark

Big Tony Says:
Sunday, November 15, 2015 @7:45:02 AM

Very interesting! I shared the link on FB, hope that's OK.
/ Tony

garytone Says:
Monday, January 11, 2016 @7:23:59 PM

This really gets my juices flowing! I love it - I'll be heading back here when I get some time to really dig in.


Lew H Says:
Saturday, January 30, 2016 @7:38:38 PM

Tony, I think you put me on to a preliminary version, or pre-pub version, of this. It's a very brief, but somehow deep, history of the banjo. I think I enjoyed it many times more in my second reading. Thanks.

There looks to be a lot of other good stuff on blues and other music on that website--so double thanks!

writerrad Says:
Monday, April 18, 2016 @6:10:12 AM

OUP keeps switiching that piece on and off from the free portion of the web site to the pay part of the web site. If anyone has trouble write me here and I can help you out via email

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