Dueling Banjos… or Dueling Guzheng?

Here’s a twist on a bluegrass instrumental standard, whether you know it as Duelin’ Banjos, Fussin’ Banjos, Fuedin’ Banjos, or any of several similar names.

It comes from the Bottom Dollar Boys of Florida, who teamed up with Dr. Haiqiong Deng, a renowned master of the guzheng, a Chinese plucked zither with an ancient heritage. She plays the 21 string version of the instrument, and received a music degree with the guzheng from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

In addition to playing traditional Chinese classical and folk music, Dr. Deng performs Indian classical music, as well as other types of folk and traditional music from around the world.

She hooked up with the Boys, who recorded this unique version of Duelin’ Banjos. Dr. Deng is obviously a quick study, and banjo lovers will get a kick of how she has adapted licks from the standard bluegrass repertoire and plays them on her guzheng.

The Bottom Dollar Boys are Billy Samford on banjo, Fred Burns on guitar, David Langston on fiddle, and Brent Kittrell on bass.

Samford explained a bit about how this came to be.

“We were asked to play a local lighthouse festival where we had the opportunity to jam with Haiqiong. We were blown away by her talent and hence the video. She is the REAL DEAL!

We are planning on recording more cuts, mostly of standard bluegrass songs. She is all in, and we are certainly honored to be able to pick with her.”

Check out the video…

Well done! We will certainly be interested in hearing more of this collaboration.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.