Tuesday, 29 June 2010

A banjo frolic released

Thanks to Gérard De Smaele (B) for the news that Frémeaux & Associés Télévisions released on Monday 21 June the original version of the documentary film A banjo frolic, scripted by Gérard De Smaele, filmed by Patrick Ferryn, and produced with the help of the US embassy in Brussels, in connection with the banjo exhibition which De Smaele presented in 2003. The DVD, which is entirely in English without subtitles, will be distributed in the USA by Harmonia Mundi. De Smaele and Ferryn state:

We drove from Atlanta GA to Washington DC (home of the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution, two huge folk-music repositories), and throughout western North Carolina and Virginia, the Blue Ridge and the Smoky Mountains. The Appalachian areas we visited are in the nest of old-time music (also bluegrass), which is distinct from the usual commercial trends of the country music.

A banjo frolic raises several issues like conservation, transmission, and transformation of the Southern musical heritage. It surely could be used as a basis for reflecting on the meaning of our own European traditional music, its use and value within the present-day world. The context presented is an America distant from the usual clichés.

The music includes the title piece by the great English 'classical banjo' composer Joe Morley, Smithsonian Folkways recordings, and performances by Pete Seeger, Mike Seeger, David 'Honeyboy' Edwards, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, Laura Boosinger, Frank Hamilton, Reed Martin, Kyle Creed, and many others. Banjo makers taking part include Kevin Enoch, Lo Gordon, Peter Ross, Geoff Stelling, and George Wunderlich. More details are here.