Thursday, June 01, 2006

Girl Friday #17: Go Round the World with this Banjo-Pickin' Girl


Many readers will recognize Nashville-based musician Pam Gaddis as a multifaceted Bluegrass contributor. A recording artist, songwriter, and educator, Pam spends much of her time educating the public about the history of bluegrass, particularly the evolution of the banjo.

Pam created A Banjo Journey -- From Africa to the Opry to trace the instrument's history from its origins in Africa to its role as a centerpiece in bluegrass and country music. She takes this interactive workshop to colleges, festivals, museums, conventions, and darn near anywhere people will gather to learn a little American musical history.

Almost all of us had to endure some form of music appreciation classes as children or as young adults. I personally enjoyed my time as a classical music student and am glad for the training and intensive study I undertook. At the same time, I wish that the traditional forms of our nation's earliest music were given at least some of the attention that most other, more "intellectual" forms are. Putting people, and in particular, children, in touch with an instrument like a banjo or a dobro is a critical step in extending the appreciation and the preservation of old-time and bluegrass music, our national folk music. Here's to Pam for doing her part.

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