Is the banjo African?

banjo, stringed musical instrument of African origin, popularized in the United States by slaves in the 19th century, then exported to Europe. Several African stringed instruments have similar names—e.g., bania, banju.

What country invented the banjo?

1) The handmade gourd instruments that would become the modern banjo originated in West Africa. 2) Enslaved Africans carried the “banjar” and its music to North America by way of the Caribbean.

Was the banjo a black instrument?

You know, the banjo is an African-derived instrument. It started as a gourd-based instrument that was brought over back in slavery days, and it was something enslaved Africans had as a part of their culture. And then it developed from these varied instruments from across the continent into the banjo as we know it.

Is the banjo a West African instrument?

As it turns out, the banjo actually evolved out of an instrument brought to the United States by West African slaves. … Before even coming to Appalachia, in fact, the banjo was found in the Caribbean. This was as far back as the 17th century.

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What culture is the banjo?

Historically, the banjo occupied a central place in Black American traditional music and the folk culture of rural whites before entering the mainstream via the minstrel shows of the 19th century. Along with the fiddle, the banjo is a mainstay of American styles of music, such as Bluegrass and old-time music.

Did the banjo originate in Africa?

banjo, stringed musical instrument of African origin, popularized in the United States by slaves in the 19th century, then exported to Europe. Several African stringed instruments have similar names—e.g., bania, banju.

Where in Africa did the banjo come from?

The banjo came to America with the slaves, and musicologists have long looked in West Africa for its predecessors. Much of the speculation has centered on the ngoni and the xalam, two hide-covered stringed instruments from West Africa that bear some resemblance to the banjo.

What is an African instrument?

African musical instruments include a wide range of drums, slit gongs, rattles and double bells, different types of harps, and harp-like instruments such as the Kora and the ngoni, as well as fiddles, many kinds of xylophone and lamellophone such as the mbira, and different types of wind instrument like flutes and …

Is a banjo a lute?

The lute family includes not only short-necked plucked lutes such as the lute, oud, pipa, guitar, citole, gittern, mandore, rubab, and gambus and long-necked plucked lutes such as banjo, tanbura, bağlama, bouzouki, veena, theorbo, archlute, pandura, sitar, Tanbur, setar, but also bowed instruments such as the yaylı …

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Are Banjos Irish?

Most banjo historians agree that what we know as the banjo was invented in America, by descendants of Africans (i.e. slaves). This is but one of a multitude of inventions by African Americans. The fretless Minstrel Banjos were probably used mostly for simple accompaniment in Irish Traditional Music.

What instrument was the ancestor to the banjo?

The direct predecessor of the banjo, most commonly known as a banjar, arrived on the slave ships that came from West Africa in the 17th century. The instrument was made from half of a gourd with animal skin stretched over it and a pole that acted as a neck.

How did the banjo get to Ireland?

The four-string tenor banjo is played as a melody instrument by Irish traditional players, and is commonly tuned GDAE, an octave below the fiddle. It was brought to Ireland by returned emigrants from the United States, where it had been developed by African slaves.

What is the most important instrument in West Africa?

West Africa (specifically Mali and the Mande people) has many of these harp/lute type instruments but the most widely known and used is the Kora.

How did the banjo and fiddle develop from Africa?

African origins

Perhaps the most iconic country music instrument of all is the banjo. … Evolving from the akonting: a three-stringed instrument with a body of calabash gourd with goat hide stretched over it, the banjo was developed in the Caribbean by the people of West Africa to involve a fourth drone string.

How did the banjo arrive in North America?

It was almost certainly brought to the New World by slaves, and as early as 1781 Thomas Jefferson, writing about slaves on his own plantation, said, “the instrument proper to them is the Banjar, which they brought hither from Africa.” Many of these early “banjars” were made from gourds and played with a fretless neck.

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Why is the fifth string on a banjo shorter?

Since the 5th string was a drone string it didn’t matter if it reached the peg head, so the 5th string was shortened to remove half the tension so it wouldn’t break and still could be used as a drone. Click Here: Banjo Hangout Rules & Guidelines.