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The Secret Legacy of the Banjo in Yiddish Music with Henry Sapoznik

Hosted By: DOROT

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The mass emigration of Eastern European Jews to the United States in the late 19th century occurred while the banjo was a dominant force in popular music. And, while Jews did not become involved in the older more established worlds of minstrel banjo or of the later classic finger-style banjo, the newly emerging worlds of ragtime and jazz — and the brash new instrument the tenor — offered an unfettered ground floor for this new collaboration. Starting in 1925 and 1930s commercial recordings reveal how the banjo not only became a mainstream Jewish presence in the Yiddish theater but also how traditional old time klezmer bands adapted traditional rhythmic figures onto it. Learn how our presenter, producer and performer Henry Sapoznik, reintroduced the banjo in the mid-1970s klezmer “revival” and its subsequent worldwide renaissance.