African Banjo Echoes in Appalachia: A Study of Folk Traditions Cecelia Conway

Conway, C. 1995. African banjo echoes in Appalachia: A study of folk traditions. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press.

Tracing the influence of African American banjo music on European American culture, evolving from the African gourd banjo to the Appalachian folk songs we know today. This book illustrates the evolution of this musical artform, including various photographs and historical documents as well as interviews with prominent banjo musicians. It is a valuable resource in understanding the traditional banjo music of mountain people.

Quantitative Reading

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Qualitative Reading Summary

This book structure is Middle High level, set up much like a textbook with main chapters that are broken up by subject sub-headings. There are many illustrations including photographs, and images of primary source documents. Indicies break the book down by song titles and subjects. There is a selected bibliography that provides further reading, and an appendix that provides information about various instruments within the banjo history and their spellings. It would be best suited for older high school students.

Curriculum Tie Ins

This book would complement a music history class, or especially a focused history elective on the Old South for 12th grade level.


California State Standards – Music 9-12 Proficient (

Role of Music
3.1 Identify the sources of musical genres of the United States, trace the evolution of those genres, and cite well-known musicians associated with them.
3.2 Explain the various roles that musicians perform, identify representative individuals who have functioned in each role, and explain their activities and achievements.

Diversity of Music
3.3 Describe the differences between styles in traditional folk genres within the United States.