Give Me The Banjo, the recent film documentary about our beloved 5 string by Marc Fields, is now available to Netflix subscribers.
Though Fields lists as the project’s writer, director and producer, it really was a team effort. Tony Trischka was brought on as musical director, Bruce Petschek as director of photography, and Steve Martin as narrator. Interviews were conducted with historians, musicologists, and, of course, lots of banjo players, to tell the story of how this humble folk instrument crossed from Africa to the Americas through the slave trade, and has become an iconic symbol of rural America and American music.
Featured are discussions with Earl Scruggs, Béla Fleck, Sonny Osborne, Mike Seeger and dozens more, along with stage and solo performances. A complete list of artists can be found online.
One might quibble with the relative importance given to certain banjo luminaries at the expense of others, but surely, Give Me The Banjo presents a loving look at the instrument, those who play it, and the impact it has had on the culture. Highly recommended.
The film has been shown in theaters, is available for sale on DVD, and was aired nationally in the US in the Fall of 2011 on PBS. Now its inclusion in the Netflix catalog brings it into easy reach for millions in the comfort of their homes.