Friday, 13 March 2009

A word or two about banjos...

pulps from the bothy features a banjo-playing Jerry Garcia today. As it's Red Nose Day here's a banjo joke.

A band has arrived early for a gig so they lock up the cars and go in search of a drink, but on the way to the pub the banjo player suddenly stops. 'Hell!' he says, 'I left my banjo in the back of the car where anyone can see it. I'll have to go back and cover it up.' The rest of the band sigh, but they walk back to the car with him. When they turn the corner they see that the rear window has been smashed. The banjoist breaks into a run. When the others catch up they find him staring into the car in astonishment. There is now an extra banjo lying on the back seat!

There are similar jokes about other instruments, especially bagpipes. I like this one. Q: Why do bagpipers walk when they play? A: To get away from the noise.

But back to banjos. All those jokes are really very unfair. A friend of mine once pointed out to me that a banjo player can always draw a crowd, and most of the banjoists I've met have been friendly, helpful people. As an example I give you Mikel Iverson from Utah who has provided, absolutely free, a wonderful online archive of tablature for the clawhammer banjo. If you want to know what clawhammer banjo sounds like then visit his website, because he has also made beautifully clear little recordings of all the tunes he has transcribed. It's better than most of the books you can buy on the subject.

The picture shows a far younger version of myself with an old 'Broadcaster' banjo which was covered in tasteful yellow pearlite. This is from the late eighties when The Moles were at their peak!

I have to mention also that Class 1C at the school where I work made a great little movie about Anansi. They had already composed and performed the music to go with the story and their teacher helped them to create the animation. You can see it online here.

1 comment:

  1. pulpsfromthebothy14 March 2009 at 10:14

    Ha ha!,very funny. I love that period set photo of you. I am proud to say that I am a big fan of Bluegrass!

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