The Banjo goes to College

AIM for Africa - Akonting and Banjo SymposiumMy recent involvement with Bill Evans’ Banjo In America program has me looking at banjo history a bit. So when I saw this news I thought it was worth sharing.

The Univeristy of Flordia is hosting a five hour event tomorrow afternoon entitled AIM for African Akonting/Banjo Symposium.

The symposium…explores the common ancestry and unique musical and cultural expressions of the New World banjo and its West African ancestors. These instruments include the akonting, a three-stringed instrument played by the Jola people of Senegal and Gambia, and the ngoni, a plucked lute from Mali.

The symposium will begin and 1 PM and continue until 6 PM. After a one hour break for dinner, attendees will be treated to a special concert beginning at 7 PM and featuring performers from both America and Africa.

The evening will begin with a historical presentation by noted scholars and musicians Shlomo Pestcoe and Greg C. Adams, followed by performances featuring the Grammy-nominated duo of Bob Carlin and Cheick Hamala Diabate of Mali. Also performing are Sana Ndiaye of Senegal and American banjo luminaries Bill Keith, Laura Boosinger, Dan Gellert, Ken Perlman and Gainesville’s own Chuck Levy.

Tickets for the event are $60 at the door ($50 for students), and include both the symposium, dinner, and admission to the concert. Tickets for the concert may be purchased separately for $15 ($10 for students).