Banjo Tunings and Styles Workshop with John Cohen
Here’s the first bit of audio I’m posting from the Brooklyn Folk Festival – John Cohen of the New Lost City Ramblers leads a banjo workshop focusing on different tunings and styles used by a number of banjo players he has learned from either directly or studied through their old recordings. Banjo player Wade Ward describes tunings as “different atmospheres.” Each banjo tuning carries its own set of possibilities and its own feeling. In 1965 John Cohen encountered Ward and many other banjo players as he journeyed through the South finding musicians, making field recordings, discovering banjo tunings and lots more along the way. Many of these field recordings were released on his wonderful album “High Atmosphere”. John discusses and demonstrates these many styles, sounds and techniques in this workshop from May, 17th, 2009.
The first play button plays a banjo music mix tape of all the original recordings of songs John covers in this workshop. The second play button plays the audio of the workshop itself. This is for banjo players only! (Unless you’re really interested)
John begins with a bit of Pete Seeger up picking, then a bit of frailing and thumb lead 2-finger picking, then more up picking (the same rhythm as clawhammer but picking up instead of hitting down on the string), Charlie Poole style finger picking banjo, Bascom Lamar Lunsford / George Landers style up picking (the workshop focuses a lot on this style, where in the first finger picks the melody and also then brushes up over the strings and the thumb picks the fifth string and drops down to some of the other strings. There are no downward motions in this style.) Sydna Myers style clawhammer, Dock Boggs finger picking and finally Pete Steele finger picking
Film about John Cohen on FolkStreams.net: Remembering the High Lonesome
Down Home Radio Rufus Crisp Feature Episode – playing recordings of Crisp, a banjo player very influential to John Cohen and the early folk music scene in New York.
Tunes included in the workshop: