Master n’goni player Cheick Hamala Diabate performs at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center.

ARTS Pick: From Africa to Appalachia

The banjo-folk music bastion has a remarkable lineage. Derived from African lutes called n’goni that were brought by slaves to the New World, the development of the banjo provides a fascinating insight into the birth of American music. Master n’goni player Cheick Hamala Diabate, together with celebrated bluegrass banjoist Sammy Shelor, multi-instrumentalist Danny Knicely, and […]

Didgeridoo player William Barton makes a bold impression as travels the world to promote the instrument’s heritage.

Modern master puts his spin on ancient instrument

Sometime in late elementary school, you learn about the didgeridoo (occasionally spelled didjeridu). It’s a funky instrument played by half naked Aboriginal people in the Australian bush. It’s more than a thousand years old. It doesn’t actually sound all that great. Then, while attending a Phish show, you come across another didge. It’s pressed to […]

Stephen Steinbrink makes his annual return

Stephen Steinbrink makes his annual return

I first heard Stephen Steinbrink in a suburban basement, around 4am. The evening’s wild, drunken revelries were dying down, a guitar was being passed around the small circle of musicians, and he was begged to play. He played two songs (one cover and one original) which were so simple, direct, delicate, and great, that it […]