Happy July 4th! I thought a brief banjo interlude might be just the thing for the day, & what says Americana better than a Scottish & French sextet playing a composition by an African American composer on various forms of an African instrument that has been considerably altered in the Americas?
The Auld Alliance Banjo Sextet is a spin off from Rob McKillop’s Scottish Classic Banjo Quartet, which features McKillop on gut-strung banjo along with his students, Alasdair Dewar (banjorine), Alan Ramsey (banjo), & Cat Campbell (cello banjo). McKillop has been featured several times on Robert Frost’s Banjo. He’s a classical guitarist, a lutenist, a uke player, & a wiz on various forms of the banjo. In the sextet version of the group, he’s added accomplished French players Eric and Pat Stefanelli.
“The Calliope Rag” was composed by James Scott. Scott is less well-known than Scott Joplin, but he was a major composer in the ragtime tradition who published a number of pieces between 1903 & 1922. In fact “The Calliope Rag” was published posthumously & didn’t become available until 1966!
For those of you celebrating the Fourth of July, hope you have a wonderful day & evening. & for those of you not in the States, hope you have a lovely day!
Image links to its source on Wiki Commons
"Calliope, the wonderful operonicon or steam car of the muses", advertising poster, 1874
Library of Congress. Public domain