The Banjo Project – a documentary

The Banjo ProjectOne of the most defining aspects of the bluegrass sound is the addition made by the 5-string banjo. It is the most “American” of all the instruments comprising a bluegrass band.  There is a lot of lore, and misinformation, about the origins of the instrument and how it came to be what it is today. The banjo has played an interesting role in American culture over the years. If you’ve ever been interested in the history of this unique instrument, then you’re sure to be interested in The Banjo Project.

Spearheaded by 5 time Emmy-winning writer and producer Marc Fields and banjo virtuoso Tony Trischka (who serves as the Project’s Music Director), The Banjo Project is an evolving media experience all about the banjo. At the heart of The Banjo Project is a currently-in-production television documentary, but the Project also includes live stage/multi-media performances, and a comprehensive website which serves as the hub for the various component pieces. The Banjo Project’s stated purpose is to “chronicle the journey of America’s quintessential instrument—the banjo—from its African roots to the 21st century.

A trailer was recently released on YouTube for the documentary film. We caught up with producer Marc Fields to ask him about a release schedule.

Right now I’m in post-production, still need to do some shooting and fundraising.  I had hoped to complete editing my September 2010, but scheduling the broadcast and DVD release is still not locked down.  I’m talking to two interested broadcast partners but can’t release any details yet.

A quick tour through the Project’s website reveals an impressive list of banjo authority names interviewed for the Project: Bela Felck, Steve Huber, Earl Scruggs, Sonny Osborne, Dr. Ralph Stanley, Alison Brown, Neil Rosenberg, and others.

If you have an interest in the banjo, a trip to is in order.