Encyclopedia of Appalachia
Dellie Norton A ballad is a narrative song in which each stanza of text is sung to the same melody. Brought to the American colonies by the earliest British settlers, the ballad form has remained in oral tradition through the present day, particularly in rural parts of the southeastern United States.
The first artist is Vicki Shell, of Johnson City, TN. Vicki is a musician and builds mandolins out of canteen gourds. She says her instruments are different than most because she has found a way to tune them to standard pitch. (Most all gourd instruments are tuned an octave low to prevent putting too much pressure on the gourd and cracking it.) I have seen some beautiful gourd banjos and guitars, but this is the first mandolin I've seen. meant to be played and not just to look at!
Gordon Collection Photographs - Folk-Songs of America
In 1988 more photos taken by Robert Winslow Gordon were found and copies were made for the Library of Congress. This photo shows the same banjos as in the photograph above, with one being played by an unknown man. Western North Carolina, 1924 or 1925. Since he is posed with three similar banjos, he may have been a banjo maker. Photo courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Bert Nye.
Child's 5 String Banjo • While reasonably priced to appeal to beginners and children, experienced musicians of all ages can appreciate the quality and solid construction typical in this instrument. The precise action and proper placement of the bridge enables chords to be played at the bottom of the neck as well as the top of the neck without losing its tune. $74.95
About the Banjo by Tony Thomas
US Slave: About the Banjo by Tony Thomas....The banjo is a product of Africa. Africans transported to the Caribbean and Latin America were reported playing banjos in the 17th and 18th centuries, before any banjo was reported in the Americas. Africans in the US were the predominant players of this instrument until the 1840s. Banjo playing became popular in white culture as a result of the Blackface Minstrel shows that became a popular form of entertainment in the 1830s and 1840s.