Banjos In African American Culture

1183 Words5 Pages
In my final paper I will be and ethnographer that will introduce you how the banjo became an important instrument for African American culture. I also will include how it was influential to American culture in general as well. I will discuss the history of the banjo before it became famous in the United States. How it had ancestors in Africa and made it its start in the Caribbean. Lastly I will explain how the collaboration between my group members and me went. The origins of the banjo started in Africa. To be exact it started around the 1660’s in western Africa. The two main ancestors of the banjo are the Xalam and the Akonting. The Akonting is a banjo-like instrument with a skin-headed gourd body, two long melody strings, and one short…show more content…
This starts the age of Blacks being a mainstream in American culture. By 1900s and 1910s banjos helped with the creation of ragtime music. Ragtime is a type of lively music that is often played on the piano and banjo and that was very popular in the U.S. in the early part of the 20th century. This type of music was based in the Black Midwest. One of the greatest Scott Joplin (lived in the great state of Missouri) stated that the banjo is one of the greatest contributors to ragtime music. It became so famous that some of the African American banjoist played in Broadway and London. As the original banjo continued its success many other performers started making new versions of them. The likes of these banjos are: tenor banjos, tuned like violas, six-string guitar banjos, mandolin banjos, and plectrum banjos, modeled on the five string banjo without the fifth string. It seems as though once all of these banjos came around the popularity of them became watered down. However, by 1960 there was a new resurrection of the instrument into the African American culture. It was folk blues revival lead by Otis Taylor. Blues was not the only genre influenced by the banjo though. Other genres like jazz and country used this great instrument in its melodies and rhythms. The banjo played a big role in American culture in the 20th…show more content…
At the beginning when we were put into groups we tried to email each other. However, this was not very effective. We eventually made a Facebook group message and communicated through this way. We then learned that none of us in our group wanted to perform. So instead we are all writing about the banjo and how it influenced the African American Culture. Also one of the group members had a friend play the banjo for him. The banjo is 38 years old and belonged to her grandfather. I feel like if we got to choose who we wanted to be in our group we could have been more productive in our group work. Another way we could have worked better is if we would have met in person. This was how my group’s collaboration
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