Thursday, February 3, 2011
For today’s post, I’m not going to write about a person, but about an instrument. Searching through different less known people an accomplishments, I found a little bit of information about an instrument made in Africa. That instrument is a banjo. It originated in Africa and was brought to America in the 1700s. They originally were small drums with strings stretched over them and played with a bow or plucked. They then developed to being made from gourds, wood, stretched Hyde, and hemp for strings. A document dated back to 1678 seems to have the first reference of the instrument calling it a banza. Other names for the banjo include banjar, banjer, and bangie. Now a days banjos are constructed a little bit more advanced. Usually having five strings, with metal necks and a metal body.
The banjo was used as a representation of black people through white people, as a mockery. It gained in popularity after the Civil War and World War I. Now it is commonly used in folk music, and commercial bluegrass bands. It’s crazy to think that something that ranges in price from 200 to over 13,000 dollars was made by items out in nature. We have a lot to thank the Africans for in the music field, but you may be surprised that the banjo was created and upheld through all of the movement and hardship of the African people. They kept that part of their culture alive so that everyone could experience it.
This one is for you Norm : )