Transformation of the Banjo
12:26 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

From Africa to Appalachia

It’s well documented that the American banjo has its origins in instruments brought to the colonies by enslaved Africans. 

Virginia has a long history with the banjo, and it didn’t start with bluegrass--it started with enslaved Africans. 

As early as 1781, Thomas Jefferson took note of the stringed gourd instruments his slaves played. Over the years, the banjo was transformed from an African instrument, to a predominantly white instrument with the familiar bluegrass twang.

Reporter Allison Quantz has the story of three musicians, two from Virginia and one hailing from Mali, who came together to explore their shared musical traditions.

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