book tells a fascinating story, based on recently uncovered and seldom known history, about an African legacy that appears
to have had a profound impact on a musical instrument that America holds dear, the banjo.
illustrated story, in rhyming narrative form, is based on the history of the present day American banjo beginning from a distant
ancestor, the Akonting, which is the traditional folk lute of the Jola people of Senegambia, West Africa.
The story unfolds as the Akonting, along with similar West African instruments, came to the Americas during the Transatlantic
slave trade and led to the development of early slave gourd banjos which ultimately evolved over time to become the banjo
we know today.
The Akonting's unique combination of a key structural feature along with a specific
playing style, today often called 'clawhammer' or 'frailing,' appears to have had a significant influence
on how the present open back 5-string banjo is both constructed and often traditionally played.
Akonting is now viewed as an important predecessor of today's banjo and its music.
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