Joel Sweeney and the Banjo: From Africa to Appomattox
on Folk & Beyond
Thursday, May 9, 2013
4:30 pm (edt)
There will be a three day conference on Joel Sweeney and the Banjo: From Africa to Appomattox starting Friday, May 10, and running through Sunday, May 12, in Appomattix Courthouse, Virginia.. In advance of that, musician and historian Joe Ayers, ethnomusicologist Greg Adams, and event organizers David Wooldridge and Mark Weems will stop by Folk & Beyond May 9 to discuss the convergence. Joe might even play a few early banjo pieces.
Appomattox is the birthplace of Joel Walker Sweeney and the rest of his banjo playing kith and kin. The Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, along with a newly created friends group, without which this could not happen, and Mark Weems of the North Carolina School of Traditional Music, are planning a celebration of Sweeney, the Africans he learned from and the banjo. The Joel Sweeney and the Banjo: from Africa to Appomattox to America Festival is scheduled to take place Friday and Saturday May 10-11, 2013.
Activities are scheduled to include the following:
- A "Joel Sweeney Day" declaration from the Governor's office.
- Screening of two banjo films: Marc Fields "Give Me the Banjo!" and Jim Carrier's "The Librarian and the Banjo."
- Luthier demonstrations and discussions by Jim Hartel, Jack Gellerstadt and hopefully Pete Ross
- Presentations on banjo history by Greg Adams
- Discussion of the geographic influence of Joel Sweeney's touring by Lucas Bowman Presentations on Sweeney history by David Wooldridge
- Tours of Sweeney sites within Appomattox C.H. NHP led by Park Staff
- Sweeney era banjo music throughout the day
- An evening concert exhibiting the evolution of the banjo and it's music (this is the fundraising portion of the program. this is a ticketed event to feature artists from the pre-minstrel to the bluegrass eras of banjo playing.)