Charlotte Folk Society Presents
Black Banjo Concert
March 28, 2010
Dilworth United Methodist Church, 605 East Blvd.

(directions here)

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Don Vappie is a wizard of the tenor and six-string banjos and is widely considered to be one of New Orleans's premier musicians. His transcriptions and arrangements of early jazz by Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver led to collaborations with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Don is from a long line of New Orleans Creole musicians that goes back to the nineteenth century. Once a featured performer in the Preservation Hall Band, Vappie now leads and tours with the Creole Jazz Serenaders. His music links New Orleans music with the Creole music of the Caribbean and with contemporary African American soul and funk.

The Ebony Hillbillies are one of the last black string bands in the U.S. -- and the only one currently based in NYC. The Hillbillies keep an important legacy alive with a rootsy, homegrown style that many forget was a key element in the genesis of all the music we cherish as uniquely American -- jazz, blues, bluegrass, rockabilly, rock and roll and country. Bringing a fresh urgency to the genre for a 21st Century world in need of some deep musical education, the four-piece band led by Henrique Prince (fiddle, vocals) and Norris Bennett (banjo, mountain dulcimer, guitar, vocals) -- and currently featuring William "Salty Bill" Salter on acoustic bass and A.R. on washboard and percussion -- creates an untamed and joyful vibe that echoes across the generations and transcends all racial and cultural boundaries.

Cheick Hamala Diabate is a West African historian in the Griot tradition, and a world-recognized master of the ngoni, a Malian traditional instrument. A sought after performer, lecturer, storyteller and choreographer throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and Canada, Cheick Hamala began touring in the U.S. in 1995. His performances have been featured at such notable venues as The Smithsonian Institute, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest and many of the top festivals across the US. A steward of the 800 year-old tradition of the Griot, the storytellers of West Africa, Cheick Hamala shares the oral history, music and song of his culture as it was passed on to him from birth by parent to child.