Original Notes from Banjourneys

Notes From Banjourneys The banjo had been calling to me long before I turned to pick it up and sound it a little over 30 years ago.  I have been grappling with it ever since, first in Ohio and West Virginia, and later in Virginia, North Carolina, Illinois, all before I took up residence in Florida a decade ago. The banjo has gleefully lead me from the beaten path, into festival fields up until dawn, across rutted roads and streams into rural homes to meet elders eager to share, and into communities of good humor and passion for the well placed phrase, the unexpected turn, and the skip of the beat.  Old-time banjo has filled my life with an assortment of colorful characters, eccentrics, and peculiar geniuses.  What seemed odd then feels like old home now. A series of unlikely and intersecting events led me in Gambia in July 2007 to learn the music of the Jola akonting (ekonting), a West African 3-stringed banjo ancestor. With Daniel Jatta as my guide, Remi and Ekona Jatta as my patient instructors, I held and then played the instrument at once both familiar and incomprehensible.  I returned in 2008 for my second glimpse of the great unknown, and finding myself in Senegal on southern shore of the Cassamance river, in Kanjunka, the birthplace of the ekonting according to the Jola of Mlomp. These currents infuse Banjourneys.  I am grateful for the friendship and fellowship of Mike Eberle  and David Forbes,  my bringing out the best in us,  and to Wayne Rogers, the Lion of Gold Tone.  Special thanks to Tina Riedel for her uncompromising integrity and extraordinary vision, and to incomparable Roz Chast for jumping in and never looking back.  I am blessed with the support of my wife Sandy Engle Levy, and our totally rad children, Mickey and Lizy. Apology to accidental customers: To those who bought this CD thinking it was about saying “Good Day” in French while traveling, I am sorry.  That would be"Bonjourneys" Unfortunately, once this product has been opened, it cannot be returned.

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