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New banjo continued

Posted by PaulKirby on Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'll upload some photos.  I'm new to minstrel banjos, but it's a fretless banjo with calfskin tacked onto the 13 inch rim. It's coming equipped with heavy nylgut strings. You can go to maxmax's homepage and see a video of the same type of banjo. Different maker, but he's the one who gave me the idea and put me in touch with Eric and Donna Prust, who are wonderful people.

I have a couple things in mind for it. One is the old-time stuff that I do at home, not often in public, although that happens from time to time. Two, is I'm working on some Arab-Appalachian crossover music. The American Church in Oslo has an outreach program for asylum seekers, and most of them are from Iran and Afghanistan. They're a gold mine of music, these guys,  and I have this idea to use fretless banjo instead of oud when we arrange some of these Persian songs.  The chance to learn songs from somebody from a faraway place is just too good to pass up. Also it's not my first experience with Persian culture. I have an ex-girlfriend with whom I've kept an appropriate friendship, and while we were together, I got to meet lots of Iranian singers and artists, and it's an unbelievably rich culture for poetry and singing.  I have a couple of bluegrass songs in the works that are translations of some classical Persian poems. It's oddly similiar to this mix of hope and despair that Carter Stanley wrote about.

2 comments on “New banjo continued”

Gareth Banjoland Says:
Friday, December 12, 2008 @1:44:31 AM

That Persian sounds like it'll be great Paul, make sure you upload a couple of them when they're done. I have spent some time in Dubai where I met a Arab Jazz Guitarist named Khamal ,who played Oud, it is a cool instrument. They play a scale on it that includes quarter notes between the major and minor third and flat fifth and natural fifth, that is that classic Arab sounding scale. Make sure you post some wacky persian scales as well. I'd love to try them and they'd sound super on the banjo especially a fretless. Ok I'm raving on a bit now. Congrats on the new banjo.

Kester Says:
Friday, December 12, 2008 @1:47:50 AM

That would be an exciting mix, Persian culture is over 3000 years old.  You might be inspired by some very ancient tunes.

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