The Hardtacks (Marek Bennett and Woody Pringle) deliver an engaging overview of global politics prior to the American Civil War through the lens of early banjo music. Between 1820 and 1860, the banjo transformed from a slave instrument found only on Southern plantations to an international pop phenomenon: songs and playing techniques carried far and wide in the emerging global economy, from the streets of New York’s Five Points slum to the gold fields of California and the elite drawing rooms of London, from the battlegrounds of Nicaragua to official diplomatic receptions in Japan. How did this African-derived, slave-borne folk instrument come to symbolize all the best and worst of a young United States of America?
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This program is made possible by a grant from New Hampshire Humanities and sponsored by the Friends of the Kimball Library. For more information on New Hampshire Humanities visit www.nhhumanities.org.
About the Presenters:
Marek Bennett teaches music and comics in New England and the world beyond. He holds an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from Keene State College, and is a rostered teaching artist with the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. His work includes the graphic novel The Civil War Diary of Freeman Colby and the NH history webcomic Live Free and Draw. His historical band The Hardtacks received a 2016 ‘Best of NH’ award from NH Magazine.
Woody Pringle is both a musician and educator teaching at many NH colleges and organizations. His credentials include a BA in Social Science from Johnson State College and an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His music is often aired on NH Public Radio’s Folk Show and many radio stations throughout the country.