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Not much difference between the blues and church songs but the words. The blues is a natural feeling and a true feeling. The blues is the truth, you hear them singing that 'you done broke my heart' and this and that - that's the naked truth - Pop Staples, Chicago Tribune article

Author Topic: 2010 Black Banjo Gathering Reunion  (Read 3750 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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2010 Black Banjo Gathering Reunion
« on: February 14, 2010, 09:30:40 AM »
Lots of talent assembling for this. From the Black Banjo group:

Attend and support
   The 2010 Black Banjo Gathering   Reunion
        at Appalachian State University,  Boone,  North Carolina
Dedicated to the memory of Mike Seeger & Clif Ervin

From March 23 to March 28, banjoists, scholars, old time, traditional jazz, and blues musicians will hold a Black Banjo Gathering Reunion at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.  Concerts, workshops, jams, panel discussions, dancing, lectures and frolics will commemorate the historic 2005 Black Banjo Gathering that gathered hundreds at the same site in April 2005.
The Reunion will feature lectures, workshops, concerts panels, films, outreach sessions to Appalachian State students and to the surrounding communities.  Best of all,
Participants already secured include Cece Conway, Mark Freed, Rhiannon Giddens, Tony Thomas,  Don Vappie, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Cheick Hamala Diabate,  Corey Harris, John Cohen,  Alice Gerard, Clarke Buehling,  James Leva, Riley Baugus,  the Ebony Hillbillies, Otis Taylor, Jerron Paxton & Hubby Jenkins, Pete Ross, Andy Cohen, Art Rosenbaum, Greg Adams, Gail Gillespie, the Dust Busters, Mebanairs, George Gibson, Rich Kirby, Doug Dorschug,  Tom Hansel,  Dr. Laurent Dubois, Dr. Afi-Odelia Scruggs, Paul Sedgwick, Jim Lloyd, Trevor McKenzie,  and Steve Kruger.  Also planning to come on Friday is the last family tradition Black fiddler, Mebane North Carolina's Joe Thompson a National Endowment of the Arts Heritage Fellow who provided so much inspiration, wisdom, and good singing and music at the 2005 Gathering.  
The 2010 Black Banjo Gathering Reunion is made possible by a grant to the Center for Appalachian Studies of Appalachian State University from the National Endowment for the Arts written by project director Cece Conway.  Additional support has come from the Appalachian Heritage Council, the Center for Appalachian Studies, the English Department, and Women Studies of Appalachian State University; Watauga Arts Council, Mark Freed, Folklorist; Blue Ridge Folklife Institute of Boone, North Carolina; Duke University Center for French and Francophone Studies; the Avery Arts Council; the Ashe Arts Council, Sparta JAM; and others.

Your support to the Black Banjo Gathering Reunion is urgently needed.
Send gifts made out to ASU Foundation?Black Banjo Reunion?227xxx
Attention Laura Crandall, Appalachian State University Foundation, ASU Box 32064, Boone, NC 28608.   Please also alert Cece Conway (EDIT: get email address at UNC) that you've sent the donation so we may track gifts.
The 2005 Gathering

Inspired by the work of seminal African American revivalist banjoists like Taj Mahal and Otis Taylor, New York's Ebony Hillbillies string band, and Black banjoists like Sule Greg Wilson, Sparky Rucker, Guy Davis, Alvin Youngblood Hart, and Jazz banjoist Don Vappie and fiddler and dancer Earl White, the online group Black Banjo Then and Now launched the 2005 Gathering to celebrate the African, Afro-Caribbean, and African American origins of the banjo, the Black Banjo tradition, and the emergence of a new generation of African American musicians, scholars, and cultural workers who seek to continue those traditions.  

Since the 2005 gathering scholarship, recording, recognition, and performance of African American banjo and old time music has expanded.    African American traditional fiddler Joe Thompson, who appeared at the Gathering, received the NEA Heritage Fellowship for his lifetime contributions in 2007.  Largely through support he received after the Gathering, Jola scholar and traditional musician Daniel Jatta opened a school in Mandinary, Gambia to teach the building and playing of traditional African instruments related to the banjo including the Jola ekonting/akonting.  African American scholars have begun to integrate African American banjo playing into the study of African American music and history. The Carolina Chocolate Drops string band whose members first met at the 2005 Gathering is enjoying increasingly wide and international popularity.   Recapturing the Banjo CD by Otis Taylor, Corey Harris, Guy Davis, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Keb' Mo', and Don Vappie represented a new synthesis of traditional and contemporary Black Banjo playing.

Tentative Schedule
   for the 2010Black Banjo Gathering Reunion
   subject to change as more special events and participants are added.
All events except where noted at Appalachian State University Boone North Carolina.  Go to for maps of the campus and parking information.
Wednesday, March 24
 Opening 4:30-6:30 Location to be announced.
The commemoration will open from 4:30 to 6:30 pm, March 24, with words from Appalachian State University folklorist Cece Conway, Appalachian scholar and musician Mark Freed, singer and musician Rhiannon Giddens, and African American scholar and banjoist Tony Thomas.  Along with Arizona percussionist, and banjoist Sule Greg Wilson, they were the primary organizers of the 2005 Black Banjo Gathering.  There will be music from the world-famous Black string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops who met at the 2010 gathering, banjo builder, banjo collector, banjo historian and master minstrel, classic, and old time banjo player Clarke Buehling, and traditional banjoist Rick Ward of Beech Mountain, NC.
Concert 7:30 Farthing Auditorium
Cheick Hamala Diabate, West African historian in the Griot tradition, and a world-recognized master of the ngoni, a Malian traditional instrument and a great banjoist and guitarist.

Old Time Set:

Riley Baugus, banjo maker, traditional North Carolina banjoist, fiddle, guitar player learned from elder traditional musicians throughout North Carolina and Virginia, learning the Round Peak style at the knee of National Heritage Award winner Tommy Jarrell and other traditional musicians of the area, including Dix Freeman, Chester McMillian and former Camp Creek Boys members Verlin Clifton and Paul Sutphin.
James Leva, a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter whose music is deeply rooted in Appalachian tradition learned much of his fiddle, banjo and vocal repertoire from great traditional masters including Tommy Jarrell, Fred Cockerham, and Doug Wallin
   Alice Gerrard, singer, song writer, multi-instrumentalist, folklorist, activist, a talent of legendary status who in a career spanning some 40 years, has known, learned from, and performed with many of the old-time and bluegrass greats and has in turn earned worldwide respect for her own important contributions to the music.
    John Cohen:  Master old time banjoist, guitarist, and singer, fifty year veteran of the New Lost City Ramblers, film maker, traditional music collector, art and documentary photographer.   

Followed by

Don Vappie Jazz banjoist par excellence. Descended from a long line of New Orleans Creole musicians that goes back to the nineteenth century. Once a featured performer in the Preservation Hall Band, Vappie now leads and tours with the Creole Jazz Serenaders.  His music links New Orleans music with the Creole music of the Caribbean and with contemporary African American soul and funk.

Intermission?20 min
Corey Harris blues guitar and banjo.  2007 McArthur Fellow Corey Harris is a musicologist, seeking to learn and teach the roots of African-American music and channel its raw emotion to modern audiences. A guitarist, songwriter, and performer Harris's journey, which included his learning from Cheick Hamala Diabate, has taken him from the American south to Africa and everyplace in between.  His recordings, such as Greens from the Garden(1999), Mississippi to Mali (2003), and Daily Bread (2005), are reinterpretations of African influences on American blues based on Harris's ethnographic research, enriched by his musical collaboration with traditional African musicians like Ali Farka Toure.

Carolina Chocolate Drops the leading tradition-based African American old time, jug time, and blues time string band, known for their music based on Carolina Piedmont Black tradition  in string instruments and , old time songs, and modern lyrics. A product of the 2005 Black Banjo Gathering, the Chocolate Drop are international favorites who have received rave reviews for their three CDs including the recently released Genuine Negro Jig.   

And other artists   
Thursday, March 25

     Classes & outreach to Ashe & Avery Counties

Plemmons Student Union:
12:30-3  Public program on Diversity & Representation: Paul Sedgewich, Alice Gerrard, Jim Lloyd,  and Trevor Mckenzie, Rhi Giddens
  & Videos of Black Banjo Songsters
3:15-6:00   Instrument Makers Forum: Pete Ross, Clarke Buehling, Kevin Enoch, Rick Ward, Jim Lloyd, George Gibson, & more  
Supper ?6:30-8:30
7:30 pm--11 Jam sponsored by the Watauga Arts Council at the Jones House Community Center  ( 604 West King Street, Boone, NC    For directions:

Friday March 26 and Saturday March 27

By day: workshops, panels, presentations in Linville Falls Room, Plemmons Student Union.  By night: Concerts, jams, & frolics by night at the Legends performance and dance space at Appalachian State.  Legends performances will include Cheick Hamala Diabate, Don Vappie, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and more, as well as the Ebony Hillbillies and Otis Taylor.  

The Ebony Hillbillies
The Ebony Hillbillies have applied decades of professional music experience to synthesize the Black old time music string band tradition with African American musical traditions in Jazz, popular music, and Bluegrass. Led by Henrique Prince on fiddle & vocals and Norris Bennett on banjo, mountain dulcimer, guitar, and vocals, the band currently features William ("Salty Bill") Salter on acoustic bass and Dave Gibson on washboard and percussion.  Blues and Jazz singer Gloria Gassaway who thrilled Legend's audiences with her Blues singing with Don Vappie in 2005 will be a special guest.
Otis Taylor
A leader of the revival of African American banjo playing, Otis Taylor is a masterful entertainer whose music has depth and relevance that touches audiences deeply while preserving and extending the traditions of Black music.  Taylor creates banjo-based music on guitar, electric mandolin, solid body electric banjo, and his custom made Otis Taylor Ome open back banjo.  His singing and song writing has produced Blues and what he calls "trance music" of unequal intensity and power in a series of CDs that speak both to the heart of Black life as well as to central questions of African American history and intellectual life.   Guitar Player magazine called Otis Taylor  "arguably the most relevant blues artist of our time," while Billboard has called him "one of the most innovative, thought-provoking blues artists to emerge in the last 20 years."  His leadership of the Recapturing the Banjo CD and tour was a landmark event in the Black Banjo tradition.  "Over the years, the instrument just lost touch with its roots," says Taylor, "I'm just trying to re-establish that connection."  

Check here for more information and updates.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2010, 09:45:00 AM by uncle bud »


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