BOOK: Dubois on the Banjo

"The banjo has been called by many names over its history, but they all refer to the same sound—strings humming over skin—that has eased souls and electrified crowds for centuries. The Banjo invites us to hear that sound afresh in a biography of one of America’s iconic folk instruments. Attuned to a rich heritage spanning continents and cultures, Laurent Dubois traces the banjo from humble origins, revealing how it became one of the great stars of American musical life.

DIGITAL: Banjology

From the website: This website is a work-in-progress by Laurent Dubois, David Garner, and Mary Caton Lingold of Duke University. Our goal is to showcase our research on the history of the banjo in the Afro-Atlantic world, including historical documents, visual materials, material objects, and musical transcription and analysis. We focus particularly on Haiti and … Continue reading DIGITAL: Banjology

Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

  Maya Angelou died at age 86. From NYT: Maya Angelou, whose landmark book of 1969, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” — a lyrical, unsparing account of her childhood in the Jim Crow South — was among the first autobiographies by a 20th-century black woman to reach a wide general readership, died on … Continue reading Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

CD: Drums of Defiance, Maroon Music of Jamaica

Drums of Defiance: Maroon Music from the Earliest Free Black Communities of Jamaica, compiled by Kenneth M. Bilby, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 1992, compact disc. From the Smithsonian's website: Featuring complex, West African influenced drumming and dancing, this little-known rural tradition is at the heart of modern, politically charged reggae music. The conviction heard here reveals … Continue reading CD: Drums of Defiance, Maroon Music of Jamaica

VIDEO/DVD: Return to Gorée, with Youssou N’Dour

Return to Gorée, directed by Pierre Yves Borgeaud, 2007 (New York: ArtMattan Productions, 2007), DVD. via official website: "Retour à Gorée" raconte le périple du chanteur africain Youssou N'Dour sur les traces des esclaves noirs et de la musique qu'ils ont inventée : le jazz. Son défi : rapporter en Afrique un répertoire de jazz et … Continue reading VIDEO/DVD: Return to Gorée, with Youssou N’Dour

VIDEO/FILM: Viramundo (with Gilberto Gil)

via official website: After decades of sold out shows and international recognition, musician Gilberto Gil embarks on a new kind of world tour through the southern hemisphere. From Bahia, he travels to the land of the Aborigines of Australia and the townships of South Africa, ending in the Brazilian Amazon region. With the same passion, … Continue reading VIDEO/FILM: Viramundo (with Gilberto Gil)