Honor Black History Month with a dive into the history and legacy of Black farming in the United States and globally. 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. 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. 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. 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. %5 of all lesson proceeds go toward the Black Banjo Reclamation Project. In solidarity, Maggie Photo by Avé-Ameenah Long. Black Banjo Reclamation Project founders Hannah Mayree and Carlton “Seemore Love” Dorsey, with banjos made by Brooks Masten of Brooks Banjos in Portland, Oregon. The vibrations are warmer, it’s a little more rooted, and it sounds a lot earthier.”. You can hardly get more connected to the land than that. The Black Banjo Reclamation Project is a vehicle to return instruments of African origin to the descendants of their original makers. In this way, it can reconnect the African diaspora to their ancestral land and to their cultural legacy. 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. Black Banjo Reclamation Project. A recent pre-COVID pilgrimage to the Mississippi Delta inspired this story. A Nashville-based singer, songwriter, and banjoist, she also teaches about the origins of musical instruments and music. 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. The Black Banjo Reclamation Project focuses on building cultural access in Diasporic African communities to traditional indigenous ways. Love said his self-made instrument allowed him to tune into his ancestors. 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. This project is putting banjos back in the hands and the laps of the people who should be learning how to play them. 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. Thus began the banjo’s trail of evolution in America. I don’t play from a colonized approach. Rachel Baiman weaves that kind of lesson into her children’s music camp in Chicago. The folks in question aren’t just in the Bay Area anymore. It’s topped off with goat skin stretched across the opening in the hollow gourd body. It does this in two connected ways: by producing most of the components and by teaching banjo-building skills in community workshops. Let's take action in support of Black lives! 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. 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. Hannah Mayree is a creative facilitator and musician who’s work and art lends itself as a tool for redesigning and reconnecting to our roots as humans on this planet. It’s a beautiful-looking instrument and is robust enough to compose, record, and gig with. Join our mailing list and help us with a tax-deductible donation today. 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. Playing a fretless gourd banjo has given me a deeper sense of connection to the instrument. Paul Ruta is a writer, stringed instrument junkie, and curator of @guitarsofcanada on Instagram. One solution for lowering the price of entry is to make a banjo of your own. 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. In our conversations, she’s often cast the banjo as … 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. this is a wheelchair accessible event. North American Indigenous Flute vs. “Native American Flute”: A ...>, In the Days of Peony Flowers: A Contemporary Reflection on Chinese>, Kulning: The Swedish Herding Calls of the North, A Choral Reckoning with the Imperfect History of the United States, Ashley Minner, Reclaiming Space for the Lumbee Indians of Baltimore, The Folkloric Roots of the QAnon Conspiracy, Restoring a National Treasure, Stone by Stone. Folklife is a digital magazine of music, food, craft, and culture. Bonnie Raitt. It’s been a persistent trend throughout the popular music industry for decades.”. 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. Bo & Lebo. Report: Gavin Newsom's team 'increasingly concerned' about recall efforts The Black Banjo Reclamation Project, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, aims to put banjos into the hands of everyday people. The average American, if asked to conjure an image of a banjo, would likely picture the modern version of the instrument. The mellow, earthy tones should come as no surprise. 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. 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. One day, Mayree hopes to complete the loop and connect with Daniel Jatta and other major figures in West African music and ethnomusicology. We decolonize our relationship to creativity from an afro-centric perspective, working to connect people with their … Carlton “Dr. The Black Banjo Reclamation Project is a multi-cultural collaboration that supports the healing of historical and ancestral trauma in all communities through our relationship with the earth and her people. 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. Martin parlor guitar of even a century ago. All musical instruments are subject to change: today’s Fender Stratocaster, for example, bears little resemblance, visually or sonically, to a C.F. All ages will have age appropriate activities. 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.”. 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. A vision of banjos coming from the earth may take a number of twenty-first-century people by surprise. 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. Like most gourd banjos, Love’s has a wooden neck, wooden bridge, and wooden friction-style tuning pegs. 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. 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. Performance by Hannah Mayree and SeeMore Love at the 2020 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass online event Oct. 3, 2020. The inspiration [for the BBRP] is the earth, really, because that’s where the instruments are coming from.”. Introduction by Allison Russell. At Smithsonian Folklife, we include many perspectives as we build cultural understanding. The “land” here refers to two things. 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