You'd think Copland would have something that featured the banjo.
Anyway! A lot of you wrote in to defend the banjo, which is great. It's a pretty rad instrument.
A great many of you sent along great YouTube clips of cool people doing cool things with the banjo. (Note, though: Sending in videos with musicians named "Earl Scruggs" doesn't particularly help the joke, but I suppose what're you gonna do? There are no "Lord Biggles-worths" playin' the banjo.)
Here's a particularly nice YouTube video of Béla Fleck playing Bach and talking about the improvisational skills of the composer. Well worth the watch, both for the talent and the humility of the performer.
That strip reminds me of a funny song called Banjo Boy by a band (with a banjo player) I listen to occasionally. The song jokes about the un-hip woes of a banjo player. Here's the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4IUb6qYGkY [youtube.com]
I've had the privilege of meeting Béla and speaking to him after his shows. He's really a down-to-earth guy and despite his talent he has not let it go to his head. He's funny, imaginative and very creative.
It's nice to see that others are aware of him!
This is part of a Bach themed DVD where there are musicians from all walks of music paying homage to good ol' J.S.B.
Bela is legendary in his own right, but my favorite has to be Chris Thile (of Nickle Creek fame) who whips out some Bach with ease on his mandolin. Pure. Genius.
Here's a link: