New Haven's "Night of the Living Banjo" Explores the Limits of the Instrument | Connecticut Public Radio
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New Haven's "Night of the Living Banjo" Explores the Limits of the Instrument

Dec 3, 2015

The slogan for the event says it all: "You've never heard banjo like this."

For many, the satisfyingly "plucky" sound of the banjo immediately evokes bluegrass or country music. But the instrument is finding itself useful in lots of other musical genres. Coming up on Saturday night at Cafe Nine in New Haven, the banjo is going to get a workout during a concert called "Night of the Living Banjo."

Event organizer and singer-songwriter Lys Guillorn said the concert came about when she realized how many of her musical friends played the banjo -- some in traditional ways, while others were finding new, experimental ways to play the instrument.

Guillorn said the slogan for the event says it all: "You've never heard banjo like this."

"It's entirely possible that people are used to hearing banjo in a bluegrass context only," said Guillorn. "So hearing it played in contemporary singer-songwriter or experimental music might be a little jarring and shake the audience up a bit, hopefully."

The audience will hear banjos played through processors, effects pedals, and electric pickups.

Guillorn said the acts range from traditional bluegrass bands, to singer-songwriters, to a band that technically doesn't play the banjo at all.

"We've got Chica non Grata, who is playing dueling casio keyboards with banjo sounds, so they are the least 'banjo' banjoists of the evening," Guillorn said.

"Night of the Living Banjo" gets underway at New Haven's Cafe Nine on Saturday night at 9:30 pm.