Rachel Baiman weaves that kind of lesson into her children’s music camp in Chicago. Join us as we “Let the Music Play On & On” through the holidays and into the New Year with deeper cuts, archival footage and interviews from the artists you enjoyed in our broadcast. The Black Banjo Reclamation Project is a cultural and land- based revival project that centers the Black community by reclaiming ancestral wisdom and moving forward with … In this way, it can reconnect the African diaspora to their ancestral land and to their cultural legacy. In addition to well-known names such as Emmylou Harris, Rhiannon Giddens, Yola, and Buddy Miller, we’ll be treated to the Black Banjo Reclamation Project, Sierra Ferrell, and some exciting duos I like a lot: Jon Langford & Sally Timms, Kieran Kane & Rayna Gellert, Laurie Lewis & Nina Gerber, and The War and Treaty, among others. We delve into the complex lives of individuals and communities to find what inspires and motivates people as they respond to animating questions at the center of contemporary life. In recent decades, scholars and master musicians such as Daniel Laemouahuma Jatta have kept alive the traditions of these instruments, which ethnomusicologists worldwide are finally recognizing as living ancestors of the banjo. Editor’s note: Culture is a process of creating, communicating, and contesting values and meanings, a process where something as seemingly small as a lowercase or uppercase letter can convey significant nuances. This journey of musical and cultural rediscovery begins by simply planting a seed in the ground. In other words, people would tend to picture the good old bluegrass banjo, or the kind of instrument made popular by Pete Seeger and other singers and folklorists of the sixties. The Black Banjo Reclamation Project, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, aims to put banjos into the hands of everyday people. It does this in two connected ways: by producing most of the components and by teaching banjo-building skills in community workshops. The 2020 Banjo Gathering will be held virtually! Bay Area musician and BBRP co-founder Seemore Love did exactly that. “And we definitely focus on the community that we serve in terms of Black folks.”. Bo & Lebo. In fact, she calls it “part of the colonization of the instrument.”, Veteran banjo builder Pete Ross agrees. “Everyone that’s part of this project is offering something that is furthering our healing as a community,” Mayree said. One solution for lowering the price of entry is to make a banjo of your own. It’s providing lesson space, facilities, teaching, and teachers, and the instruments themselves, to … Seemore Love uniquely blends the past sounds of Folk from around the world with the present age of technology, and the spiritual aim of Afro-Futurism to create a truly sincere and one-of-a-kind sound appropriate for all ages and heart spaces. It’s a beautiful-looking instrument and is robust enough to compose, record, and gig with. Through our extensive network across the country, our work promotes conversation and action in healing the ancestral, historical, cultural and racially dividing wounds in this country and the world. In addition to offering opportunities for practicing musicians to create their own tools of the trade, the BBRP provides space for families or anyone in the local community to learn useful land-based skills. The strings are nylon—the modern version of traditional “catgut” strings made from sheep or goat intestines. Hannah Mayree is the founder of the Black Banjo Reclamation Project and an Oakland, California-based singer-songwriter and banjo player. After the gourd has been left for about a year to harden and cure, the banjo-building process can begin. The Black Banjo Reclamation Project hosts workshops so people can learn to build their own gourd banjos. Hannah Mayree And The Black Banjo Reclamation Project by Alexis Goldsmith in Art, Culture & Entertainment , Hudson Mohawk Magazine , Social Justice & Activism on 11.11.2019 Musician Hannah Mayree sat down with WOOC producer Melissa Bromley to play a tune, discuss what drives her, and tell us about The Black Banjo Reclamation Project. Hannah Mayree representing the Black Banjo Reclamation Project – Talk – Banjo History and Culture: 8:30: Kilborn Alley – Performance: 9:00: Jake Blount – Performance: 9:30: Kyshona Armstrong – Performance: 9:50: Hot Club of Cowtown – Performance Thus began the banjo’s trail of evolution in America. Photo by Avé-Ameenah Long. In the spirit of inclusivity, we respect the wishes of our collaborators in capitalizing—or not—racial, ethnic, and cultural terms. In the mid-1800s, minstrel shows were a popular form of entertainment, where White performers in blackface played banjos and sang and danced in a caricature of Black music and culture. With proper care, that seed will grow into a gourd, which may be harvested in 180 days. Black Banjo Reclamation Project Jon Langford and Sally Timms Los Coast. of Make Believe paired 9 elementary school students with 9 Oakland musicians. The folks in question aren’t just in the Bay Area anymore. Led by teaching artist Tiffany Golden, the students in Song & Story Camp wrote original songs that were composed and recorded by their musicians.These songs represent the world we are living in today. By the early twentieth century, the mass-produced banjo had become a symbol of White supremacist culture—so much so that in later decades people sometimes had difficulty accepting the fact of its African origins. The 10-year-old teamed up with musician Hannah Mayree, co-founder of the Black Banjo Reclamation Project, and the two met every week online to work on their song. To meet demand, production became mechanized, and the banjo quickly lost all connection to the earth. See” Dorsey, known on stages across the U.S. as Seemore Love is an Alkebulan-American mystic, multi-genre, multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, singer/songwriter. It takes two people to stretch an animal skin tightly over the opening in the banjo’s gourd body. I don’t play from a colonized approach. The familiar bluegrass-style banjo is indeed a twentieth-century American creation, a defining characteristic of the bluegrass and country music which evolved along with it. %5 of all lesson proceeds go toward the Black Banjo Reclamation Project. She is also the founder of the Black Banjo Reclamation Project, a vehicle to return instruments of African origin to the descendants of their original makers. My teaching rate is $50/hour, payable by Venmo or PayPal. Finances are uncertain for many right now, so I’m open to negotiating a rate that work with your budget or means. The vibrations are warmer, it’s a little more rooted, and it sounds a lot earthier.”. This project is putting banjos back in the hands and the laps of the people who should be learning how to play them. We tell unforgettable stories about people, ideas, and a wide array of arts and traditions that help us explore where we have come from and where we are going. The Black Banjo Reclamation Project is a vehicle to return instruments of African origin to the descendants of their original makers. Doobie Decibel System Duo. The Black Banjo Reclamation Project is in the process of expanding their reach by working with partners in the Caribbean as well as Black farmers in Virginia and Alabama. In an interview via Zoom she said, “We want to inspire everyone to reach back to who their ancestors were, and who we are now, and how we can honor that and bring integrity back into what we’re doing with music. Folklife is a digital magazine of music, food, craft, and culture. But even a basic, serviceable banjo costs several hundred dollars, a significant expense for many working musicians, putting the more expensive professional-grade instruments well beyond reach. Paul Ruta is a writer, stringed instrument junkie, and curator of @guitarsofcanada on Instagram. Band. Performance by Hannah Mayree and SeeMore Love at the 2020 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass online event Oct. 3, 2020. Jon Langford & … The average American, if asked to conjure an image of a banjo, would likely picture the modern version of the instrument. Email powered by MailChimp (Privacy Policy, Terms of Use). Check out and support these Black traditional musicians: Black Banjo Reclamation Project, Rhiannon Giddens, Our Native Daughters, Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons, and Jake Blount. It’s the indelible link to the continent of Africa, the geographic and cultural origin of that range of instruments which have evolved into the modern banjo. But the modern banjo, according to Mayree, is a demonstration of how far it has become separated from its roots. Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock. It’s topped off with goat skin stretched across the opening in the hollow gourd body. At Smithsonian Folklife, we include many perspectives as we build cultural understanding. The mellow, earthy tones should come as no surprise. Carlton “Dr. Most Popular. “Music, like food and language, is a fluid culture, and folk music picks up all kinds of influences as it moves through time and different communities,” she said via email. A vision of banjos coming from the earth may take a number of twenty-first-century people by surprise. Tune in every other Tuesday beginning November 24 as we continue our musical journey at 8PM ET / 5Pm PT. Bonnie Raitt. This summer, Chapter 510 & the Dept. He lives in Hong Kong. Report: Gavin Newsom's team 'increasingly concerned' about recall efforts A banjoist, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Hannah shares harmonies through acoustic live vocal looping and reminds us of the empowerment found in our relationship to the earth, music and community. In his Baltimore workshop, Ross creates historical recreations of gourd banjos as well as wood-rimmed minstrel-era instruments. One day, Mayree hopes to complete the loop and connect with Daniel Jatta and other major figures in West African music and ethnomusicology. Black Banjo Reclamation Project. Gourd banjos are not often heard in American music today, if only because they’re relatively hard to come by. “I’m an African in America. “Correcting the history of the banjo and making it clear that this instrument, so central to American cultural history that so many White people have their personal identities wrapped up in, is in fact African American, forces a shift in understanding the country’s history as well as personal cultural identifications,” Ross claimed. We will be hosting one day of live and recorded events on Sunday, November 8, 2020, with an introduction and live recording listening session on Saturday, November 7, 2020 and extra bonus content made available for participants. A recent pre-COVID pilgrimage to the Mississippi Delta inspired this story. Films include Forgotten Farmers: African-American Land Loss, The Young Black Farmers Defying a Legacy of Discrimination, and broadcast journalist Edward R Murrow’s 1960 documentary Harvest of Shame.You’ll also enjoy music by the Black Banjo Reclamation Project plus … Being connected to the land also has a more immediate meaning, referring to the arable earth beneath our feet. The Black Banjo Reclamation Project is a cultural and land- based revival project that centers the Black community by reclaiming ancestral wisdom and moving forward with innovations through prospectives of Afro-futurism. Gardening, tanning, and woodworking with hand and power tools are all skills applied in building a banjo. All proceeds from “Give It Time” will go towards the Black Banjo Reclamation Project, a vehicle to return instruments of African origin to the descendants of their original makers. The “land” here refers to two things. Introduction by Allison Russell. Deep Fried Pickle Project (Family, Jug Band) is a delectable musical treat. The Black Banjo Reclamation Project focuses on building cultural access in Diasporic African communities to traditional indigenous ways. Along with their efforts to help African Americans reclaim the right to the narrative, the Black Banjo Reclamation Project also gives people the opportunity to return to the music itself, to explore their own spirituality and artistic voices, and to learn how to play through online lessons. Either way, the context is almost always White, because for hundreds of years the story of the banjo has been told from an exclusively White point of view. No one is suggesting that the banjo and its means of manufacture, along with the music played on it, ought to be immune to evolution and adaptation. Like most gourd banjos, Love’s has a wooden neck, wooden bridge, and wooden friction-style tuning pegs. That fact of provenance alone puts any conversation about the history of the banjo inside the larger conversation about American history, and slavery in particular. Let's take action in support of Black lives! She is the founder of the Black Banjo Reclamation Project: Cultural Reclamation through Reparations ~ Cultural Revival Through Community. In solidarity, Maggie Proceeds from this release will go toward the Black Banjo Reclamation Project, a vehicle to return instruments of African origin to the descendants of their original makers. It’s been a persistent trend throughout the popular music industry for decades.”. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Hannah Mayree, founder of the Black Banjo Reclamation Project, quite a bit about her unprecedented campaign to put banjos back into the hands of Black people. “This organization at its core is a land-based project,” she added. Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more. The story of the banjo goes back centuries, to West Africa, where folk lute instruments like the Senegambian akonting have long been in use. And local organizations Don't Shoot PDX, Black Resilience Fund, and Unite Oregon, Wa Na Wari (Seattle). In an email conversation, he said, “What the BBRP is doing is actively reclaiming this co-opted, appropriated object and trying to re-root an extinguished tradition in the African American community.”. The Black Banjo Reclamation Project, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, aims to put banjos into the hands of everyday people. It would be a factory-made object with a round wooden or metal body, with a synthetic, drum-like membrane stretched taut across the body, and four or five metal strings spanning a fretted neck. One way to give the story of the banjo a fresh start is to tell it to kids. In our conversations, she’s often cast the banjo as … And if the day ever comes when you’ve grown tired of your gourd banjo, no problem: it’s almost entirely biodegradable. Martin parlor guitar of even a century ago. The difference is one of cultural ownership and general acknowledgement, of giving credit where it’s due—especially when credit is long overdue to a historically oppressed people. It does this in two connected ways: by producing most of the components and by teaching banjo-building skills in community workshops. All musical instruments are subject to change: today’s Fender Stratocaster, for example, bears little resemblance, visually or sonically, to a C.F. Quite literally, every main component of a gourd banjo—one that’s built in the manner of its African precursors—arises from the land. Honor Black History Month with a dive into the history and legacy of Black farming in the United States and globally. Owning a banjo (or an equally popular fiddle) soon became all the rage in households across the country. All ages will have age appropriate activities. Workshop participants learn how to shape the neck joint of a gourd banjo with chisels and other hand tools. The banjo has been on a diasporic journey the same way that many of us and our bloodlines have been. As a result, regardless of the style, most banjo music today is played on factory-made fretted instruments—or, for the lucky few, on banjos crafted by high-end luthiers commanding thousands of dollars. This marks the anniversary of the beginning of "The Black Banjo Then and Now," an e-mail listserv that inspired the creation of the first Gathering in 2005. “But White people do have a bad habit in this country of taking something from another culture, whitewashing it, and profiting off of it to the exclusion of that cultural community. The Black Banjo Reclamation Project is a vehicle to return instruments of African origin to the descendants of their original makers. this is a wheelchair accessible event. Along the way, its connection to Black heritage was effectively erased. Then the BBRP addresses the bigger objective to retake possession of the narrative and tell the story of the banjo from the Black perspective. Love said his self-made instrument allowed him to tune into his ancestors. Carrie Rodriguez. The inspiration [for the BBRP] is the earth, really, because that’s where the instruments are coming from.”. You can hardly get more connected to the land than that. An initial 30 minute trial lesson is half-price. Those African instruments never made the journey on slave ships bound for the Americas, but the technology for building them was carried in the heads of the passengers along with their memories of the music. Deep Fried Pickle Project – Family Performance: 11:40: Seemore Love representing the Black Banjo Reclamation Project – Talk – Banjo History and Culture: 12:05: Milly Raccoon – Performance: 12:30: Ayla McDonald – Performance: 12:55: Candy Foster Interview – Talk: 1:20: Jean Rene Balekita and Laeticia Kyungu – Performance: 1:45 Playing a fretless gourd banjo has given me a deeper sense of connection to the instrument. Enslaved Africans then fashioned variations on those instruments in the fields of the Mississippi Delta and elsewhere. So I think that’s a big part of the inspiration, as well as our ancestors, knowing that this has been happening for so many generations through from the Continent to Turtle Island to everywhere that we are.”. 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