Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Evolution of the banjo

It all started with a gourd. A hollowed gourd. In West Africa. An animal skin was stretched tight across its opening. Catgut strings were added.

Thomas Jefferson's slaves played them.

Some called it a banjar. Others called 'em banshaws.

Soon enough, society women were plucking banjos in the late 1800s.

Then Earl Scruggs, Dock Boggs, Steve Martin and yours truly came along.

The whole story is told at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in our nation's capital. (Only $8 to see it all!)


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