This banjo cousin was collected by me among the Dogon people on the Falaise of Bandiagara in Eastern Mali in 1981. At the time, I made the startling discovery that it was played clawhammer style. The Dogon player I met, and I, played a duet on the song Reuben, which is originally a West African melody that is still current in that part of the world. I was playing a small fretless banjo.
2 comments on “Dogon "Kona" picture 2”
Friday, July 15, 2011 @10:02:34 AM
To me this looks more like a banjo ancestor than a banjo cousin...
Marc Nerenberg Says:
Friday, July 15, 2011 @10:13:32 AM
I call it a cousin because it is unlikely to be the actual ancestor of the banjo, which would have been similar instruments from further west in Africa. The Dogon were then, and still are, an extremely remote people, and if they were enslaved in America, would have been so in very small numbers. Thus, the banjo's direct ancestors would likely have been similar instruments from neighbouring peoples. What my research did show, though, was that clawhammer like techniques on banjo like instruments are wide-spread in the region.
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