Well of Souls: Kristina R. Gaddy

Event date: 

Wednesday, March 1, 2023 - 7:00pm
2720 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206

Masks are strongly encouraged to help actively include immuno-vulnerable friends and those around them. Thanks!

Register HERE

In Conversation with Emily Bingham

Featuring Nadia Ramlagan on banjo, Blakeley Burger on guitar, and Kristina Gaddy on fiddle.

 

Pre-registering helps us order enough books for our guests and helps us set up the room for safety and comfort. We will allow pre-registrants to be seated first. No one will be turned away, but please note that seating is limited. Please contact the store ahead of time if you need assistance with mobility or other concerns - we are happy to help!

 

Named one of 2022’s Most Memorable Music Books by No Depression: The Journal of Roots Music An illuminating history of the banjo, revealing its origins at the crossroads of slavery, religion, and music.

In an extraordinary story unfolding across two hundred years, Kristina Gaddy uncovers the banjo’s key role in Black spirituality, ritual, and rebellion. Through meticulous research in diaries, letters, archives, and art, she traces the banjo’s beginnings from the seventeenth century, when enslaved people of African descent created it from gourds or calabashes and wood. Gaddy shows how the enslaved carried this unique instrument as they were transported and sold by slaveowners throughout the Americas, to Suriname, the Caribbean, and the colonies that became U.S. states, including Louisiana, South Carolina, Maryland, and New York.

African Americans came together at rituals where the banjo played an essential part. White governments, rightfully afraid that the gatherings could instigate revolt, outlawed them without success. In the mid-nineteenth century, Blackface minstrels appropriated the instrument for their bands, spawning a craze. Eventually the banjo became part of jazz, bluegrass, and country, its deepest history forgotten.

Kristina R. Gaddy is the author of Well of Souls: Uncovering the Banjo's Hidden History and Flowers in the Gutter: The True Story of the Edelweiss Pirates, Teenagers Who Resisted the Nazis. She has received the Parsons Fund Award from the Library of Congress, a Logan Nonfiction Fellowship, and a Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Rubys Artist Grant. Her writing has appeared in The Washington PostBaltimore SunWashington City PaperBaltimore magazine, Narratively, Proximity, Atlas Obscura, and OZY, among other publications. She lives in Baltimore with her partner Pete Ross and their cat.

Emily Bingham is the prizewinning author of three books and lives and teaches in Louisville, Kentucky. Her most recent book My Old Kentucky Home: The Astonishing Life and Reckoning of an Iconic American Song unearths performances, recordings, and protests, tracing one song’s entrance into the bloodstream of American life and through to its twenty-first century reassessment. Her essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in Vogue, Ohio Valley History, The Journal of Southern History, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and New England Review. Her books are Irrepressible: The Jazz Age Life of Henrietta Bingham (2015), Mordecai: An Early American Family (2003), and, as editor with Thomas A. Underwood, The Southern Agrarians and the New Deal: Essays After I’ll Take My Stand (2001). 

 

 

You can get the book on the registration page, but it’s cheaper if you link below because we don’t pay extra service fees. Whatever is more convenient for you, we love to get you your books!

 

Mobility device access info:

While our store has ramp access to the right of the main entrance, the event space is more easily accessed by entering at Bayly Avenue. Please call the store when you arrive and we will be happy to welcome you via this entrance. This door is next to a loading zone for easy car access, and our parking lot reserved ADA spots are also close to this entrance.

Well of Souls: Uncovering the Banjo's Hidden History By Kristina R. Gaddy, Rhiannon Giddens (Foreword by) Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780393866803
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 4th, 2022

One of The New Yorker’s Best Books of the Year
Named one of the Most Memorable Music Books of the Year by No Depression: The Journal of Roots Music

An illuminating history of the banjo, revealing its origins at the crossroads of slavery, religion, and music.


Event Category Terms: 

Event Summary: 

In conversation with Emily Bingham featuring musical guests! An illuminating history of the banjo, revealing its origins at the crossroads of slavery, religion, and music.