Magic Banjo

"When will I hear de banjo tumming, down in my good old home?
(Stephen Collins Foster, „Old Folks At Home (Suwanee River)”; 1851)
"You wanna play mind-crazed banjo on the druggy-drag ragtime USA?”
(The Clash, uncut version of "Straight To Hell" on "Clash on Broadway"; 1991)

The Banjo is a true world (music) instrument. It is an American invention adapted from an African prototype and modified with European elements. It’s also a young instrument, barely 200 years old. Its basic concept, known all around the world, is that of a long-necked lute with a hide-covered body. Nevertheless, the banjo is unique. It forms part of a family of instruments but has only two proper family members. The tenor (or 4-string) banjo is best known from jazz and more recently from Irish music while we know the 5-string banjo as a defining instrument in American folk and bluegrass. Apart from a series of hybrids–mandolin-banjo, guitar-banjo, ukulele-banjo and so on—the banjo’s only real relative is the cümbüs from Turkey. Yet, the banjo is known—and played—all around the world as a solo or rhythm instrument and for its distinctive sound.

The album contains 2 CDs with 41 audio tracks and a 100-page book with a detailed account of the banjo’s history (plus many photos). 9 tracks are unreleased so far; 4 are available for the first time on CD while many others are taken from hard-to-find discs.

CD1 „American Banjo” shows off the instrument as it is heard in The Americas—from the USA to the Caribbean and Brazil (and even including an Argentine tango), featuring among others Béla Fleck, Pete Seeger, Tony Trischka, Alison Brown, Derroll Adams, Earl Scruggs, Robert Crumb, Tony Furtado, Kali, Bill Keith, Gus Cannon, and Dock Boggs.
CD2 „World Banjo” tracks down banjo music from around the world, from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, from Asia to Africa and Europe, with artists such as Gerry O’Connor, Barney McKenna, Daily Planet, Ara Dinkjian, and Janne Viksten.

Price: 20 Euro


…a crazy project in the most positive sense... an incredible photo gallery... detailed recording dates and line-ups.... And if that’s not enough, you will be struck dumb by the almost 160 minutes of adventurous journey arou8nd the world on the tracks of the banjo... This CD-book is a gift – in every sense of the word.

Michael Lohr, Akustik-Gitarre 6/05

Catalogue number: NoEthno 1001/2


2 CDs with 41 audio tracks (160 min)

Book (hard cover) with 100-page booklet
release date: 1 July, 2005


CD 1

1 Tony Trischka’s Bluegrass Session (USA+): Can’t You Hear Me Calling  4:10


2 Joe Ayers (USA): Whoop Jamboree  2:51

3 Tim O’Brien/Frankie Gavin/Earl Scruggs (USA/IRL): Lord MacDonald/Cumberland Gap  2:21

4 Alison Brown Quartet (USA): Road To Corossol  4:45

5 Les Primitifs du Futur feat. Robert Crumb (FRA/USA): Zoo Blues (Best Year For The Bestiary)  6:15 ##

6 The Lashing Dogs (BVI): Meaning Of Woman  3:22

7 Dock Boggs (USA): Mixed Blues  3:49

8 Kali (MRT): Tifi Congo  3:20

9 Arthur Dittlmann & Peter Holzapfel (DEU): Da wampert Marcel  1:14 #

10 Derroll Adams (USA): Mule Skinner Blues/T For Texas  4:44 ##

11 Tony Furtado (USA): Sundin  3:36

12 Nazaré Pereira (BRA): Ilhas do Marajó  3:31

13 Banjo Joe (Gus Cannon) (USA): Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home  3:09

14 Béla Fleck & The Flecktones (USA): Stompin’ Grounds  8:22 ##

15 Bill Keith (USA): Caravan  5:17

16 Louis Armstrong And His Hot Five (USA): Oriental Strut  3:08

17 Tanny & The Boys (ANT): Asumbau  4:51 #

18 Pete Seeger (USA): Blue Skies  2:21

19 Nat Saunders (BAH): Round And Round The Bar Room  3:28

20 Poutníci (CZE): Zdálo sa mnĕ Zdálo  2:57

CD 2

1 Argan (MAR): Anouach  4:26

2 Gerry O’Connor (IRL): The Reconciliation Set  4:19 ##

3 Obo Babajide And His Ibadan Jùjú Group (NIG): Abasi Olubadan  2:44

4 Black Sea Musicians (TUR): Nihavent Langa  3:21 #

5 Badiane (BEL): Amaury sous la pluie  4:17

6 Henri Madoré (REU): A.B.C.D. (version 78 tours)  2:37

7 The Transatlantic Banjo Co. (GER/USA): Hopak  2:58
8 La Cucina (GBR): Windy Windy Dance Night  5:01

9 Hamid Motebassem & The Magic Banjo Band (IRN+): Für Rudolstadt  3:17 ##

10 Lolohea Brothers (TON): Nofoa Si’i Tonga  2:06

11 Akira Satake & Tony Trischka (JAP/USA): Forty Horses  2:30 ##

12 Shooglenifty (GBR): A Whiskey Kiss  6:20 ##

13 Papa Teora (RIT): Song Of Papa Teora  0:57

14 The Dubliners (IRL): Hornpipes (The Honeysuckle/The Golden Eagle)  2:59

15 Bapi Das Baul (IND): Utshava  4:08 #

16 Kemal Taskin (TUR): Çiftetelli Dance from Bünyan  3:18 ##

17 Mizisyen Latroup Nasyonal (SYC): Anpok Sinan  3:42 #

18 Daily Planet (GBR): India  4:21

19 Jivacort Kathumba & Thyolo Jazz Two (MLW): Bambo wa cheBoyi (a mini folk opera)  4:06 #

20 Ara Dinkjian & Omar Faruk Tekbilek (ARM/TUR): Old Man’s Dance  4:36

21 Janne Viksten (FIN): Blue Harbour  6:07


# rare or hard to find, mostly a first on CD

## previously unreleased