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Abby Washburn with Bela Fleck:
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Hit 'Em Up, Style

 


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LATEST NEWS:
More festival screenings for GIVE ME THE BANJO:
The Raindance Festival (London) will be the international premiere
(Oct 5 and 7).  PCFMC logoAlso, the Tucson Film Music Festival (Oct 11), Hot Springs Documentary Festival (Oct 14), Berklee School of Music (Oct. 17), Reel Music 30 (Northwest Film Center, Oct 18), and the Arlington International Film Festival (Oct. 21).

PBS SAYS "GIVE ME THE BANJO!"
give me the banjo
It's official—on 5/10/11, The New York Times’ “Arts, Briefly" column announced that its Fall 2011 line-up will include The Banjo Project documentary, henceforth to be known as Give Me the Banjo. It will be one episode in the new mini-series, "PBA Arts Fall Festival," for national prime time broadcast. The banjo doc's PBS incarnation will be 82 minutes, with Steve Martin narrating and as many of the players and commentators as will fit. The DVD/home video is currently being negotiated. Having amassed over 400 hrs of footage during almost a decade of production, producer Marc Fields and his creative team are now feverishly working to complete post-production by the end of the summer. “This is the kind of national prime time showcase that the banjo deserves,” commented Fields. “Without the participation and support of so many in the roots music community, we wouldn't have been able to create the program and the buzz that PBS has picked up on. Partnering with PBS will also help to facilitate the kinds of online educational and archival programs we intend to provide.”

FUNDING CAMPAIGN RAISES $47,000 TO FINISH EDITING Give Me the Banjo
kickstarter websiteUsing the innovative online platform Kickstarter, The Banjo Project received contributions from over 500 backers during a 60 day campaign. Total contributions were almost double the original target amount. Backing came from all parts of the banjo world, as well as the roots music, documentary and history communities. Buzz about the Kickstarter campaign led to articles about Give Me the Banjo in the Boston Globe, USA Today online, many online blogs and music-related newsletters, and the Japanese bluegrass magazine "Moonshiner." Producer Marc Fields said, "The success of the Kickstarter campaign exceeded our expectations in every way. Not only did it give us the essential funding we need to finish editing, but it demonstrates that there's an engaged audience of "viewers like you" who really care about the subject. Clearly there are a lot of people who believe that the banjo's story deserves to be told and that now's the time to tell it."

NEW STEVE MARTIN CD
AUGUST 2010

Tony Trischka and Rhiannon GiddensThe Banjo Project's Music Director Tony Trischka was in the studio this summer producing Steve Martin's new CD along with the Steep Canyon Rangers and special guests The Dixie Chicks, for Rounder Records. The CD is scheduled for a February release.

MORE BLACK BANJO ROOTS AND SHOOTS
MARCH 2010

Tony Trischka and Rhiannon GiddensThe Banjo Project returned to Appalachian State University (Boone NC) for the five-year reunion of the Black Banjo Gathering, catching up with members of The Carolina Chocolate Drops (who met at the first gathering in 2005, also taped byThe Banjo Project), jazz banjo maestro Don Vappie, Cheick Hamala Diabate, and music historians Tony Thomas and Greg Adams.

backstage jamA backstage jam between Vappie, Cheick Hamala and Corey Harris was just one of many highlights. New talent included two young musicianers from New York, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton and Hubby Jenkins, and a black bluegrass picker named Carl Johnson from Tennessee. Performances and presentations encompassed the far-reaching impact of black banjo and stringband music, including Tony Trischka, Riley Baugus, James Leva, and Alice Gerrard.The Banjo Projectalso finally sat down with John Cohen for a long-overdue interview.

GIVE ME THE BANJO NOW AVAILABLE ON DVD
with bonus content not in the PBS broadcast, including Uncle Dave Macon, 4-string with Cynthia Sayer and Eddie Peabody, Taj Mahal, Dr. Ralph Stanley, Rhiannon Giddens and Riley Baugus.

Order though this link and a 10% referral fee will benefit The Banjo Project.

Check our Facebook page for upcoming re-broadcasts and local screenings.

PBS Fall Arts Festival

GIVE ME THE BANJO premiered November 4 on PBS stations

Thank You Kickstarters!
click here to see the list of names

The Banjo Project is a cross-media cultural odyssey: a major television documentary, a live stage/multi-media performance, and a website that chronicle the journey of America’s quintessential instrument—the banjo—from its African roots to the 21st century. It’s a collaboration between Emmy-winning writer-producer Marc Fields and banjo virtuoso Tony Trischka (the Project’s Music Director), one of the most acclaimed acoustic musicians of his generation.

Narrated by Steve Martin, Give Me the Banjo brings together contemporary players—including Pete Seeger, Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, Mike Seeger, Don Vappie, Abigail Washburn and The Carolina Chocolate Drops—with folklorists, historians, instrument makers and passionate amateurs to tell the story of America's instrument in all its richness and diversity.


THE BANJO PROJECT ONLINE
GETS HUMANITIES FUNDING

Mass Humanities
What will happen to the wealth of musical and historical content that won't fit into our broadcast program? It becomes the foundation for a web-based archive and cultural gathering place for exchanging knowledge and news about the banjo, thanks to a new media grant from Mass Humanities! Over the next 18 months,The Banjo Project website will expand to include interactive features like a timeline and map of banjo history, searchable video interview and performance clips, and user-generated content.

The piano may do for lovesick girls who lace themselves to skeletons, and lunch on chalk, pickles, and slate pencils. But give me the banjo... When you want genuine music—music that will come right home to you like a bad quarter, suffuse your system like strychnine whiskey…ramify your whole constitution like the measles, and break out on your hide like the pin-feather pimples on a picked goose—when you want all this, just smash your piano, and invoke the glory-beaming banjo!

~ Mark Twain, Early Tales and Sketches, Vol 2 (1864-65)