• The Banjo: America's African Instrument

    The Banjo: America's African InstrumentThe growing collection of books exploring the historical origins and development of the banjo is receiving an important new contribution with the publication of The Banjo: America's African Instrument.

    Set for release by Belknap Press in March 2016, author Laurent Dubois of Duke University traces the history of the banjo from its African roots to the Caribbean and North America, where twentieth-century musicians incorporated the instrument into styles ranging from ragtime and jazz to Dixieland, bluegrass, reggae, and pop.

    The author, who also is involved in the ongoing development of a very fine banjo history website called "Banjology," gave us some background on his motivation for the book:

    "You can blame this book a bit on Elderly Music in East Lansing, Michigan, where I walked in one day planning to buy some CDs and walked out the proud owner of a Ramsey banjo. That was over a decade ago, and as I learned to play I also became more and more interested in the history of the instrument.

    "As a historian of the Caribbean, I was fascinated to learn that most of the earliest sources about the banjo's history are from that region, and decided to delve in and see how much I could discover about that early history. From there, I decided to tell the broader history of the banjo from its origins to the present day. Along the way I've truly enjoyed dialoguing with the many lovers of the banjo out there, and hope this book will contribute to the enjoyment and appreciation of this magical instrument."


    • Sounding Africa
    • The First African Instrument
    • Three Leaves
    • The Sound of Freedom
    • The Banjo Meets Blackface
    • Rings Like Silver, Shines Like Gold
    • Black Banjo
    • Sounding America

    Additional Information