Give Me the Banjo Abigail Washburn's journeys to China have made her a 21st century Marco Polo of music, mixing folk traditions of east and west.Abigail Washburn's journeys to China have made her a 21st century Marco Polo of music, mixing folk traditions of east and west.

About the Program

Give Me the Banjo 
was featured in the 2011 PBS Arts Fall Festival.

Premiere Date: November 4, 2011

The banjo has been called America's quintessential instrument, perhaps because its long and contested history has encompassed so many popular musical forms, from black folk styles and the 19th century minstrel show, to blues, ragtime, early jazz, old time folk and bluegrass. One of the biggest challenges of making Give Me the Banjo was trying to cover the full range and breadth of music that the banjo has helped to shape.

Ask Dr. Ralph Stanley what he's been playing for the last half century and he'll call it "old time mountain music." Enjoy diverse performances from Cynthia Sayer, Taj Mahal, Rhiannon Giddens and Abigail Washburn.

 

Give Me the Banjo was produced by Knockabout Media LLC. For more on the banjo's diverse styles and history, visit The Banjo Project.

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PBS Arts made possible with funding from: Anne Ray Charitable Trust and National Endowment for the Arts