Béla Bartók on Banjo

Those of you who know me are familiar with my love for banjos. Nothing is more enjoyable than playing a banjo. It’s such a simple instrument, a piece of wood stuck to a drum with some strings attached, but it can sound so beautiful when placed in the right hands. While I’m just an amateur, picking away at the Gold Tone 5 string Julie bought me a year ago, Jake Schepps is an example of a truly skilled banjo wielding musician. Last month, Schepps released an album on his BandCamp of tunes composed by 20th century Hungarian composer Béla Bartók.

Jake Schepps

For those of you unfamiliar with Bartók’s work, start googling. His use of folk melodies in his compositions is one of the earliest forms of sampling, so next time you’re listening to Girl Talk you have this ‘old dead guy’ to thank. Interesting to note that Bartók also was one of the first practitioners of Ethnomusicology, redefining how we analyze music in a historical context.

Check out the album, it’s pretty catchy. Hopefully Jake will make his way to Boston soon!


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