Kevin Howard is an old time banjo player in the Appalachian Mountains of Eastern Kentucky. He talks about what the banjo means to him and what the banjo says about the place he grew up. In addition, Kevin performs "Wild Bill Jones" on his 100+ year old banjo.
The banjo is a four or five stringed instrument with a piece of plastic or animal skin stretched over a circular frame. Simpler forms of the instrument were fashioned by Africans in Colonial America, adapted from several African instruments of similar design.
The banjo is usually associated with country, folk, Irish traditional music and bluegrass music. Historically, the banjo occupied a central place in African American traditional music, before becoming popular in the minstrel shows of the 19th century. In fact, slaves influenced early development of the music that became country and bluegrass, through the introduction of the banjo and through the innovation of musical techniques for both the banjo and fiddle.The banjo, with the fiddle, is a mainstay of American old-time music.
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