Events, Exhibits, Music, Southern Folklife Collection, Special Collections

Lectures, Concert to Celebrate Banjo Aug. 25

Banjo event flier

The banjo, one of America’s iconic musical instruments, will be the topic of a celebration Aug. 25 at UNC. The Southern Folklife Collection in the Wilson Special Collections Library will present lectures and music as part of The Banjo: Southern Roots, American Branches.

The day will bring together speakers and performances, along with an exhibit in Wilson Library. Events are free and open to the public. The concert requires free tickets, available from the Memorial Hall box office beginning July 23.

Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Pleasants Family Assembly Room
Wilson Special Collections Library

Lectures and panel discussions on the history of the banjo, with:

  • Robert Cantwell, Townsend Ludington Professor of American Studies at UNC, author of Bluegrass Breakdown: The Making of the Old Southern Sound;  
  • Bob Carlin, musician, author of The Birth of the Banjo: Joel Walker Sweeney and Early Minstrelsy;
  • Cecelia Conway, professor of English at Appalachian State University, author of African Banjo Echoes in Appalachia;
  • Laurent DuBois, professor of romance studies and history at Duke University;
  • Dom Flemons, musician with the Carolina Chocolate Drops;
  • Jim Mills, IBMA Banjo Player of the Year six-time winner (Ricky Scaggs, Vince Gill);
  • Philip Gura, William S. Newman Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture at UNC, author of America’s Instrument: The Banjo in the 19th Century  (with James F. Bollman); and
  • Stephen Wade, musician, author of The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience 

Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012
7:30 p.m.
Memorial Hall on the UNC campus
Free tickets required from the Memorial Hall box office (available July 23)

Performances by banjo artists:

EXHIBIT: “The Banjo: Southern Roots, American Branches”
July 15 – Dec. 31, 2012
Wilson Special Collections Library, 4th floor
An exhibit of banjo instruments and related items such as photographs and fliers

The banjo event is the first of the three-part Southern Folklife Collection Instrument Series. Panels, exhibits, and concerts in 2013 will feature the pedal steel guitar and the fiddle.

The series seeks to provide an opportunity for music lovers to learn from leading musicians and scholars about the music, history, and culture of the American South.

For additional information about the banjo celebration or the Southern Folklife Collection, contact the Collection at (919) 962-7105 or

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