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mags

The banjo sound

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It seems every show i see that is either based or momentarily based in charleston always uses the banjo sound when taking senary shots of the city or town, I notice it particulary with shots of the bridge. No offense to the banjo fans but I dont feel the banjo properly personifies charleston, I dont even believe the banjo personifies historic charleston accurately. It seems a little too sleepy southern in my opinion not that charleston is manhattan, but I feel the producers have the wrong idea about the city. Charleston should have a sound with a little more refined southern "arrogance"...

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That is funny. I haven't noticed that but I agree, when I think of Charleston the banjo doesn't even come to mind. Banjo's remind me of the mountains bluegrass etc. a rural setting.

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Interesting. Those of us who are familiar with Charleston are unlikely to see Charleston as a backwards "sleepy southern town". But what about those people, especially from the North or West Coast who have never been to Charleston or SC or even the southeast? Unless they are well educated it is quite possible that they are inclined to see not only Charleston as being quaint and sleepy but also the entire South with the possible exceptions of Miami and Atlanta. Just my opinion of course, but I think we can agree that the general image or perception that people have of the American South, predicated on its history and the events that took place here, is less than totally positive or accurate. I speak not only about Americans because it's surprising to see how many people of other nations hold similar views of the American South. That being said, Charleston does enjoy a considerable reputation, both nationally and internationally among those in the know.

Personally, I think a 1570 symphony or a harp would be the perfect sound for a city like Charleston.

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Interesting. Those of us who are familiar with Charleston are unlikely to see Charleston as a backwards "sleepy southern town". But what about those people, especially from the North or West Coast who have never been to Charleston or SC or even the southeast? Unless they are well educated it is quite possible that they are inclined to see not only Charleston as being quaint and sleepy but also the entire South with the possible exceptions of Miami and Atlanta. Just my opinion of course, but I think we can agree that the general image or perception that people have of the American South, predicated on its history and the events that took place here, is less than totally positive or accurate. I speak not only about Americans because it's surprising to see how many people of other nations hold similar views of the American South. That being said, Charleston does enjoy a considerable reputation, both nationally and internationally among those in the know.

Personally, I think a 1570 symphony or a harp would be the perfect sound for a city like Charleston.

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I typically think of Deliverance when I hear a banjo, and that's not exactly something positive to be associated with.

I think a symphony orchestra is better for Charleston.

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I typically think of Deliverance when I hear a banjo, and that's not exactly something positive to be associated with.

I think a symphony orchestra is better for Charleston.

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Oh no mags, you guys aren't the only ones. Anytime I hear that "banjo-Southern-smalltown-backwoods-redneck" music when I see the streets of my hometown, I cringe. Indeed, this is not the type of music that should be associated with Chas, from the historic streets of downtown to the ultra-modern Arthur Ravenel Bridge. Now, why not actually use the ragtime tune of "Charleston" which also instigated a dance for the song? Or classical music would be a good theme as well, especially with the city being such a haven for arts and culture.

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Now, why not actually use the ragtime tune of "Charleston" which also instigated a dance for the song?

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I cant say that Ive ever heard this banjo thing for Charleston, but I like the idea of using the "Charleston" ragtime song instead.

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I cant say that Ive ever heard this banjo thing for Charleston, but I like the idea of using the "Charleston" ragtime song instead.

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I agree with Mags, bluegrass would be more fitting for our beautiful mountain areas rather than for Charleston with its sophistication, money, and diverse economy. Come to think of it, bluegrass music and the banjo sound fails to match the personalities of any of our larger cities in this state.

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^ Indeed. Bluegrass would be best reserved for the smaller towns in the South who truly still retain the old, quiet charm of what the South used to be. I'm looking through my classical music collection to see what best piece would be adequate for a soundtrack of my hometown. I'll let you guys know what I come up with...

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I cant say that Ive ever heard this banjo thing for Charleston, but I like the idea of using the "Charleston" ragtime song instead.

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Another appropriate choice would be something from "Porgy and Bess", the great Gershwin opera based on DuBose Heyward's work. One of America's most beautiful and beloved standards is "Summertime" from it. That song is so evocative of Charleston's history, and it would be a noble "theme song" for any production depicting the city, IMO.

"Summertime, and the living's easy . . . "

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yea, i agree..

All I know as a black male, again no offense to anyone, when i hear a banjo I wanna head the other direction....

interesting fact: the banjo actually originated in africa...

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Yes, y'all are right on with the song "Charleston" being a no-brainer. Don't know why these producers don't do their homework!

Another appropriate choice would be something from "Porgy and Bess", the great Gershwin opera based on DuBose Heyward's work. One of America's most beautiful and beloved standards is "Summertime" from it. That song is so evocative of Charleston's history, and it would be a noble "theme song" for any production depicting the city, IMO.

"Summertime, and the living's easy . . . "

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Not only did it originate in Africa. The word BANJO entered America through Charleston/Gullah people (as did Banana, Gumbo, Jive, Juke, Tote, Okra, and the list goes on). Maybe thats why its used so much.

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Yeah they brought the instrument too. The Banjo is just a slightly different variation of an instrument that used to be used in Africa. When they brought it over they changed it a little bit but its basically the same thing. Just like Sweetgrass Baskets are to the baskets of Sierra Leone, and just like Gullah is to the Krio language over there, or how Red Rice is to Jollof Rice. Same thing.

My understanding is that they had variations of the banjo enter the Lowcountry Sea Island region and the Appalachia Virginia area early on, but the actual word banjo entered American vernacular through Gullah speak, and I think that standard type of banjo that we know came along with it. What part of Charleston are you from. I notice that most of us dont even know a lot about our own history. When I was growing up I didnt know alot either. Wasnt till I got older and learned for myself.

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interesting fact: the banjo actually originated in africa...

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Do you know where I could find this song or get an mp3 of it. Is there a Porgy & Bess soundtrack or something. I wanna hear that.

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Wow, I learned something reading over the past couple of posts.

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Hey Donny, you should be able to find numerous versions of "Summertime" online through iTunes or what-have-you. It is one of the most covered songs in history. In fact, here is a quote from Wikipedia:

"It is widely believed that "Summertime" vies with the Beatles' "Yesterday" as one of the most often covered songs in popular music, with an estimated 2,600 different versions recorded. However, a far greater number of recordings of the former exist: as of April 26, 2007 - 13.07 gmt, an international group of collectors of recordings of Summertime known as "The Summertime Connection," knows of at least 18,246 public performances, of which 12,390 have been recorded. Of those, the group has 7,506 full recordings and about 1,100 samples and incomplete recordings in its collection."

Read more about it in its article from Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summertime_%28song%29

I personally love Mahalia Jackson's version. It is sublime. (Speaking of Sublime, that rock group sampled "Summertime" brilliantly in their song, "Doin' Time".)

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