The late banjo maker Scott Didlake called the instrument, a “well of souls.”
One look at the gourd banjo – with its goat skin head and papyrus neck – reveals a glimpse of the aching history of souls taken from Africa in shackles and forced into slavery in North America.
And with them, they brought the music.
Archivist and ethnomusicologist Greg Adams has been studying the banjo for 20 years.
“Some people say, 'oh the banjo, it's such a happy instrument. You can't play a sad song on it,'" Adams said.