The Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM) announced this month that Richard Jones-Bamman has won the SEM 2018 Klaus P. Wachsmann Prize for Advanced and Critical Essays in Organology award for his book Building New Banjos for an Old-Time World (University of Illinois, 2017).
"The artisans who build banjos for old-time music stand at an unusual crossroads -- asked to meet to modern musician's needs while retaining the nostalgic qualities so fundamental to the banjo's sound and mystique."
In Building New Banjos for an Old Time World, Richard Jones-Bamman explores the relationship between historic banjos and banjo builders, modern Old Time players, and luthiers today. The photo-illustrated book features interviews both makers and musicians to uncover how they work together to create instruments. Read a profile of Jones-Bamman on the SEM's website.
Jones-Bamman's interviews many banjo-builders and repairers who regularly attend the Banjo Gathering, including Pete Ross, Kevin Enoch, Jim Hartel, and Bob Smakula, as well as offering perspectives from players like Greg Adams, Bob Carlin, and Mary Marxer. At this year's Banjo Gathering, he will be moderating two panels of banjo builders, exploring these questions and more.
In 2016, Brooks Masten presented about his history as a banjo builder and his influences and personal style. If you missed it, he was recently interviewed on the Get Up in the Cool Old Time Music podcast and tells his story with some great tunes tucked in between.
This is a forum for previous years' and on-going banjo research projects. If you are interested in submitting something for the blog, please use the "Contact" page!