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Jan 25, 2021 - 1:05:40 PM
171 posts since 12/29/2020

They say the banjo came from West Africa from slaves from Senegal. The jola akonting might be an ancestor of the instrument en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akonting However, countries like Brazil, Dominican Republic, Jamaica/Hati had FAR larger slave populations than the Southern U.S (blacks in Brazil are like 50% while in the U.S only 10-12%). However why don't you ever see banjo-variations in those nations? (The music played tends to be Samba/Spanish/Portugese with some French/British elements).


EDIT: Could the banjo also be Ireland/Scotland? I mean most bluegrass/folk is based on Irish/Scotch fiddle tunes. (most southerners are Scots/Irish descent such as Davy Crockett/Daniel Boone etc.) Also most modern black music uses jazz/blues guitar and rarely uses banjo (except for the Carolina Chocolate Drops band). Jazz/Blues has more African roots compared to bluegrass which is more scots/irish

-discuss

Edited by - thebanjoshopper on 01/25/2021 14:18:05

Jan 25, 2021 - 1:11:07 PM
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337 posts since 4/11/2019

My wife is Puerto Rican and moved here to Florida about 10 years ago.

I think the first time she ever saw or even heard a banjo was when she came over to my house for the first time.

I've tried to teach her - the incentive being that no matter how good she WASN'T, she would still be the greatest Puerto Rican banjo player of all time!!

Jan 25, 2021 - 1:27:57 PM

1606 posts since 7/4/2009

quote:
Originally posted by thebanjoshopper

Could the banjo not be West African but from mostly Ireland/Scotland?


No.

Jan 25, 2021 - 1:34:45 PM
Players Union Member

Emiel

Austria

9768 posts since 1/22/2003

quote:
Originally posted by thebanjoshopper


Could the banjo not be West African but from mostly Ireland/Scotland? I mean most bluegrass/folk is based on Irish/Scotch fiddle tunes. (most southerners are Scots/Irish descent such as Davy Crockett/Daniel Boone etc.) 


What I read, the banjo and the guitar came late to this kind of music in the US. Originally it was the fiddle, and there were unacompannied ballads too. So the banjo is not original to this music, but was incorporated into it later.

Jan 25, 2021 - 1:34:57 PM
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5967 posts since 9/21/2007
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Before you go any further I recommend reading this book...

amazon.com/Banjo-Roots-Branche...52083601/

Read it cover to cover and then come back to this post.

Jan 25, 2021 - 1:42 PM

1606 posts since 7/4/2009

The title is actually a very interesting question, but the body of the actual post makes me suspect this is bait.

Bluegrass is not "mostly" based on Irish or Scots fiddle tunes. Bluegrass was developed as a form of professional entertainment that incorporates the old-time stringband tradition (that's where the Scots and Irish fiddle tunes come in) blended with influences from blues, jazz, and Methodist, Holiness, and Baptist church singing. It also has nothing to do with the origin of the banjo.

The idea that folk music is somehow based on Irish and Scottish fiddle tunes, when every culture in the world has its own variety of folk music, is simply ridiculous.

The history and provenance of the banjo is subject to an ever-growing body of research and documentation, I suggest you acquaint yourself with it before posting wild conjecture like the banjo actually being of Scots-Irish descent. You haven't even suggested an indigenous Irish/Scots instrument that the banjo might be descended FROM, whereas there are clear banjo analogues native to Africa.

The answer to the actual question is probably enough for an entire book. (EDIT: Possibly the book Joel recommends, which looks very interesting.)

Edited by - UncleClawhammer on 01/25/2021 13:50:21

Jan 25, 2021 - 1:53:33 PM
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ChunoTheDog

Canada

604 posts since 8/9/2019
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The earliest recording of a banjo like instrument is from Jamaica in the 1680s. Probably a fretless gourd type of thing.

The history of the instrument we know today as the 5 string banjo (or plectrum, or tenor etc.) has many diverting branches in its family lineage. It doesn't come from one single place.

Jan 25, 2021 - 2:07:21 PM

171 posts since 12/29/2020

quote:
Originally posted by UncleClawhammer

The title is actually a very interesting question, but the body of the actual post makes me suspect this is bait.

Bluegrass is not "mostly" based on Irish or Scots fiddle tunes. Bluegrass was developed as a form of professional entertainment that incorporates the old-time stringband tradition (that's where the Scots and Irish fiddle tunes come in) blended with influences from blues, jazz, and Methodist, Holiness, and Baptist church singing. It also has nothing to do with the origin of the banjo.

The idea that folk music is somehow based on Irish and Scottish fiddle tunes, when every culture in the world has its own variety of folk music, is simply ridiculous.

The history and provenance of the banjo is subject to an ever-growing body of research and documentation, I suggest you acquaint yourself with it before posting wild conjecture like the banjo actually being of Scots-Irish descent. You haven't even suggested an indigenous Irish/Scots instrument that the banjo might be descended FROM, whereas there are clear banjo analogues native to Africa.

The answer to the actual question is probably enough for an entire book. (EDIT: Possibly the book Joel recommends, which looks very interesting.)


My bad not trying to bait, just I heard a lot of Southerners are of Scots/Irish heritage especially in Appalachia (Andrew Jackson/Daniel Boone/Davy Crockett etc.) (or many southern comfort dishes like biscuits/gravy/friend chicken etc. originate in Scotland or many southerners have surnames that begin in prefix "Mac" ) Plus a good amount of Appalachian fiddle tunes are Scots/Irish rythems. Even though bluegrass is different didn't it originate in Appalachia which is heavy in Irish/Scots culture? 

Jan 25, 2021 - 2:10:08 PM

171 posts since 12/29/2020

quote:
Originally posted by UncleClawhammer

The title is actually a very interesting question, but the body of the actual post makes me suspect this is bait.

Bluegrass is not "mostly" based on Irish or Scots fiddle tunes. Bluegrass was developed as a form of professional entertainment that incorporates the old-time stringband tradition (that's where the Scots and Irish fiddle tunes come in) blended with influences from blues, jazz, and Methodist, Holiness, and Baptist church singing. It also has nothing to do with the origin of the banjo.

The idea that folk music is somehow based on Irish and Scottish fiddle tunes, when every culture in the world has its own variety of folk music, is simply ridiculous.

The history and provenance of the banjo is subject to an ever-growing body of research and documentation, I suggest you acquaint yourself with it before posting wild conjecture like the banjo actually being of Scots-Irish descent. You haven't even suggested an indigenous Irish/Scots instrument that the banjo might be descended FROM, whereas there are clear banjo analogues native to Africa.

The answer to the actual question is probably enough for an entire book. (EDIT: Possibly the book Joel recommends, which looks very interesting.)


not denying that the banjo is from africa however how come you never see banjos or similar instruments in brazil or puerto rico which had african influence as well? 

at this point though it seems the banjo has been adapted to irish/appalachian music such as the Irish tenor banjo so is it really a stretch to wonder if the banjo might have irish origins as well? 

-i am not arguing it is kinda an open ended discussion becuse it is hard to really pinpoint the exact origins of music/instruments

Jan 25, 2021 - 2:13:09 PM

171 posts since 12/29/2020

quote:
Originally posted by ChunoTheDog

The earliest recording of a banjo like instrument is from Jamaica in the 1680s. Probably a fretless gourd type of thing.

The history of the instrument we know today as the 5 string banjo (or plectrum, or tenor etc.) has many diverting branches in its family lineage. It doesn't come from one single place.


interesting however how come you don't see that instrument in jamaica anymore or a "jamaican banjo"? It seems a lot of jamaican music is raggae or even has some chinese influence (after slavery chinese were hired to pick sugar cane I believe)  as well but no banjos or similar instruments.

Jan 25, 2021 - 2:17:40 PM

171 posts since 12/29/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

Before you go any further I recommend reading this book...

amazon.com/Banjo-Roots-Branche...52083601/

Read it cover to cover and then come back to this post.

not denying the banjo is african however how come you see banjos in the u.s but never in the carribean/latin america. (since many african slaves were also sent to the carribean/brazil).

plus could the banjo have some irish origins? i mean their is the irish tenor banjo and a lot of Appalachian music has Irish/Scots roots. 

Jan 25, 2021 - 2:23:50 PM

1606 posts since 7/4/2009

Meant to include this in my other post, but: for all I know, there ARE banjo-like instruments in the Caribbean and Latin America. I'm very ignorant about the vast majority of the music from those regions. Given that banjo players are a comparatively tiny minority of American musicians, I doubt the banjo would be well-known if not for the "hillbilly" stereotype. It certainly isn't used in most of the American music that gets exported abroad.

Jan 25, 2021 - 2:29:35 PM

171 posts since 12/29/2020

quote:
Originally posted by UncleClawhammer

Meant to include this in my other post, but: for all I know, there ARE banjo-like instruments in the Caribbean and Latin America. I'm very ignorant about the vast majority of the music from those regions. Given that banjo players are a comparatively tiny minority of American musicians, I doubt the banjo would be well-known if not for the "hillbilly" stereotype. It certainly isn't used in most of the American music that gets exported abroad.


yeah my bad my posts are all over the place too. But could their be instruments in ireland/scotland that resemble the banjo? 

I mean i guess you could say brazil has a banjo-like instrument https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76gZ9Im-2LI&ab_channel=AmtMusic however I am pretty sure it is turkish in origin (a lot of Ottomans moved to Brazil after WWI) 

The brazilian banjo-like instrument in the video looks EXACTLY like this turkish instrument which is kinda played like a ukulele or what not https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%BCmb%C3%BC%C5%9F

Edited by - thebanjoshopper on 01/25/2021 14:32:06

Jan 25, 2021 - 2:36:30 PM
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Players Union Member

Emiel

Austria

9768 posts since 1/22/2003

The original question remains interesting. But the Irish banjo is not the origin of the banjo. The Irish banjo is a tenor banjo, a later development of the banjo. In Europe, the five-string banjo never was very prominent. The tenor banjo though was better established because of the popularity of Dixieland jazz and readily available. The Irish just incorporated the tenor banjo in their music, just as they did with the bouzouki, a Greek instrument.

Jan 25, 2021 - 2:40:53 PM

171 posts since 12/29/2020

quote:
Originally posted by UncleClawhammer

Meant to include this in my other post, but: for all I know, there ARE banjo-like instruments in the Caribbean and Latin America. I'm very ignorant about the vast majority of the music from those regions. Given that banjo players are a comparatively tiny minority of American musicians, I doubt the banjo would be well-known if not for the "hillbilly" stereotype. It certainly isn't used in most of the American music that gets exported abroad.


this is fascinating it seems all the banjo-like instruments not in carribean but in persia/turkey they look almost EXACTLY like a banjo.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_tambur

https://salamuzik.com/collections/tanbur

Could the banjo possibly have middle eastern roots too? 

Edited by - thebanjoshopper on 01/25/2021 14:44:38

Jan 25, 2021 - 2:43:23 PM

R Buck

USA

2895 posts since 9/5/2006

Ever been to Haiti? They have banjos.

Jan 25, 2021 - 2:45:08 PM
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ChunoTheDog

Canada

604 posts since 8/9/2019
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by thebanjoshopper
quote:
Originally posted by ChunoTheDog

The earliest recording of a banjo like instrument is from Jamaica in the 1680s. Probably a fretless gourd type of thing.

The history of the instrument we know today as the 5 string banjo (or plectrum, or tenor etc.) has many diverting branches in its family lineage. It doesn't come from one single place.


interesting however how come you don't see that instrument in jamaica anymore or a "jamaican banjo"? It seems a lot of jamaican music is raggae or even has some chinese influence (after slavery chinese were hired to pick sugar cane I believe)  as well but no banjos or similar instruments.


I'm no expert, but I think it's the way the continental USA and Carribean/Latin American cultures evolved differentially in terms of music culture. Same time period, different places, different people, different outcomes. 

Edited by - ChunoTheDog on 01/25/2021 14:45:57

Jan 25, 2021 - 2:45:33 PM

171 posts since 12/29/2020

quote:
Originally posted by R Buck

Ever been to Haiti? They have banjos.


i mean you can find banjos anywhere however the banjos in haiti are 5 stringed american ones. does haiti have its own version? (i am genuinly curious and not trying to argue :) 

Edited by - thebanjoshopper on 01/25/2021 14:49:59

Jan 25, 2021 - 2:46:51 PM

171 posts since 12/29/2020

quote:
Originally posted by ChunoTheDog
quote:
Originally posted by thebanjoshopper
quote:
Originally posted by ChunoTheDog

The earliest recording of a banjo like instrument is from Jamaica in the 1680s. Probably a fretless gourd type of thing.

The history of the instrument we know today as the 5 string banjo (or plectrum, or tenor etc.) has many diverting branches in its family lineage. It doesn't come from one single place.


interesting however how come you don't see that instrument in jamaica anymore or a "jamaican banjo"? It seems a lot of jamaican music is raggae or even has some chinese influence (after slavery chinese were hired to pick sugar cane I believe)  as well but no banjos or similar instruments.


I'm no expert, but I think it's the way the continental USA and Carribean/Latin American cultures evolved differentially in terms of music culture. Same time period, different places, different people, different outcomes. 


possibly. it seems that many african slaves in the states came from Senegal while slaves in brazil came from Angola. Obviously those countries are very different despite both being in west africa

Jan 25, 2021 - 2:51:58 PM

ChunoTheDog

Canada

604 posts since 8/9/2019
Online Now

The popularization of the banjo in the American popular culture came in waves throughout a couple hundred years. To understand why there's not much banjo music heritage historically in the Carribean and Latin American regions, you need to look way beyond the slave history of both places as banjo popularization came much later, and then bluegrass even later.

Jan 25, 2021 - 3:13:04 PM
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csacwp

USA

2796 posts since 1/15/2014
Online Now

The banjo was popularized by white minstrels in the US. Minstrelsy itself proved popular for all sorts of cultural and political reasons that were unique to the US. Without their contributions, it stands to reason that the banjo may have died off (period accounts from the 1860s suggest that banjos were a rare site in the south, even among the black population. At the same time the banjo was a mainstay of popular music in the north thanks to minstrelsy).

Jan 25, 2021 - 4:12:50 PM

R Buck

USA

2895 posts since 9/5/2006

yes they have used banjos in Haiti for a long time. It is part of their music.

Jan 25, 2021 - 4:30:49 PM

171 posts since 12/29/2020

quote:
Originally posted by R Buck

yes they have used banjos in Haiti for a long time. It is part of their music.


do they use 5 string banjos?

Jan 25, 2021 - 5:08:22 PM

3282 posts since 9/12/2016

There are guys around down there using the banjo to mimic steel drums

Jan 25, 2021 - 5:08:25 PM

1731 posts since 6/2/2010

Jamaican drum turned into a banjo.




 

Jan 25, 2021 - 5:16:30 PM

171 posts since 12/29/2020

quote:
Originally posted by maneckep

Jamaican drum turned into a banjo.


what is it called? is it a jamaican folk instrument?

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