Check out this NPR story on the history of the banjo. While those of you who saw Bela Fleck’s “Throw Down Your Heart” already know this, the banjo doesn’t have origins in Appalachia. This story profiles, Daniel Jatta, who is from Gambia where it is believed the banjo has its origins in the akonting. Rhiannon Giddens of Carolina Chocolate Drops often plays this instrument after learning to play it on an educational exchange to Gambia.
Listen to the NPR story: The Banjo’s Roots, Reconsidered