Sankofa Strings

 From time to time we like to cover interesting instruments and their players.  A search for African American mandolin players netted us this wonderful find:


Before the Blues—and electricity–turned the world of popular music upside-down in the early 20th Century, communities made their own music, playing for parties, dances, corn shuckings, funerals, baby namings and you-name-it.  The power to create was in the people’s hands.  Black string bands—a nearly forgotten legacy–played for frolics, parades, square dances, and were vital parts of their people’s lives, into the 1950s. Picture of early Black American frolic

In the spirit of independent, community-based music comes Sankofa Strings, a trio of African American artists in love with self-made music.  Armed with fiddles and ‘jos, bones and drums, Sankofa Strings is taking that “Old Time” sound and using it to bring the people together again. Young and old love this music—it is deep in our collective memory.  Come back, and let’s go forward together.

Sankofa Strings draws upon the string and vocal traditions of the Americas, Africa and Europe: string band standards, blues, hokum tunes and anonymous folk songs slide next to new interpretations of Afro-Pop, sea shanties and Celtic ballads.

Sankofa Strings is music of the world, as we see it.  We play to make you smile.

“Sankofa” is an Akan (West African) concept of knowledge, spirit and history.  Literally, it means to “Look back, and Retrieve”.  It is a reminder that true progress does not abandon the past, but constantly draws upon the works and wisdom of those who came before.  We make music that brings us together.  Sankofa!

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