Afropop Classic February 22, 2024
Black History Month: The African-American String Music Tradition

The lineage of the blues – that heartrending cry echoing through American song – stretches back into the shadows, towards Africa's distant shores. Much of this journey remains veiled, lost to time and neglect. Yet, one crucial chapter blazes brightly in the twilight before the blues: the vibrant tradition of African-American string bands. In this program, originally produced by Banning Eyre in 2000, we illuminate those dusty pages. We'll hear from the late Howard Armstrong, maestro of strings, as his music and remembrances guide us. This exploration also features the plangent tunes of Canray Fontenot, Blind James Campbell, and Hobard Smith – all legends of this too-often forgotten corner of Americana.

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