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When COVID-19 Canceled Music Festivals, These Banjo Lovers Planned A Virtual One



DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right. Time now for an espresso shot of musical endorphins.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: When the pandemic forced summer music festivals to cancel, banjo players felt particularly unstrung.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

That’s because social distancing is the polar opposite of what banjo festivals are all about.

CATHY FINK: Typically, we would be sitting in circles either around a campfire or under a tent, you know, with the mountains in the background. And we would be playing hour after hour after hour.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: That’s banjo player Cathy Fink. With instruments in hand and no place to pluck, she and fellow musician Adam Hurt teamed up and created an online banjo festival.

GREENE: They reached out to banjo lovers on social media. And the response was finger-picking good.

FINK: A hundred and 19 banjo players submitted from all over the U.S. We had quite a few from all over the U.K. And we even had one from Norway.

UMA PETERS: My name is Uma Peters (ph). I’m from Nashville, Tenn. I’m going to be playing “Camptown Hornpipe” for the Online Old Time banjo contest.

(SOUNDBITE OF UMA PETERS’ “CAMPTOWN HORNPIPE”)

GREENE: Adam Hurt says they were looking specifically for old-time banjo players. And that’s a very distinct style of playing.

ADAM HURT: Old-time banjo means pre-Bluegrass styles of playing the five-string banjo. Many of us think of the clawhammer or frailing style as representing old-time banjo that came over from West Africa. There’s some beautiful two-finger and three-finger banjo styles that rhythmically resemble clawhammer but, texturally, are quite different. So there’s really a lot of diversity under that old-time banjo umbrella.

CAMERON DEWHITT: I’m Cameron DeWhitt (ph). This is Jonathan Craig Roberts (ph). And this

Article source: https://www.npr.org/2020/08/06/899679936/when-covid-19-canceled-music-festivals-these-banjo-lovers-planned-a-virtual-one

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