Thursday, June 29, 2006

Florida Banjo Society

Here's the first photo of the charter members of the new Florida Banjo Society at the 2006 Florida Folk Festival.

Monday, June 26, 2006

hidden banjoists in Victor Nunez's, "Coastlines"

We just saw Victor Nunez's movie, "Coastlines" that was filmed in the Panhandle four years ago. Bob and I were extras in it and if you watch the first bar scene (the one with Cajun music and dancers) very carefully and squint your eyes to look behind the main actor and actress in the scene--you will see Bob and I dancing behind them (for about 5 seconds) Bob is wearing a light blue Hawaiian Shirt and I wear a black flowered dress .
Now where are the banjos? Well, they are most certainly at home--but there are several banjoists hidden in this film.
First of all, the band playing in this scene is Balfa Toujours (spel?) and although he is not playing banjo--Dirk Powell is playing in the band .
Then, the man who does the sound score for the movie is
Charlie Engstrom--who is also a clawhammer banjo picker.
And I've never met Victor Nunez--but Charley Cox tells me they went to high school together and that Victor made a banjo in shop and loaned it to Charley.

Anyway--we drove over to Carabelle five years ago to be Cajun dancing extras in "Coastlines" because they promised that Balfa Toujours would be there all evening and we would get to dance to them regardless of whether or not we would be background in the movie. (They shot hours of film of that one bar scene and only used a few seconds--so it is just chance that we are even in it at all. )
Also--we are big fans of Victor Nunez movies--and thought it was worth the chance to be included in even a background minor way.

Anyway--it is a pretty good movie--I liked Ulee's Gold better--but all in all a good story and it has the feel of North Florida five years ago. By the way--the bar is no longer there--it was blown away by a hurricane.
Best wishes,
Mary Z. Cox

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Florida Teak banjo/ Marty Spencer

Here are some pix of Marty Spencer's teak banjo. Click on the title to visit his web page to see more of Marty's Florida banjos. :) Marty--they sure are pretty! :)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Trading banjos/Florida Folk festival

Here's a photo sent by Sister Sandy. The banjo I'm holding is David's Tree of Life and he is trying out the new White Shell Laydie. :)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Florida Folk Festival 2006

Here are a few photos taken at the Old Marble Stage on Sunday.
And here is a link to Dwight Hine's version of the the festival on the Global Ear.
Thanks Dwight, thanks for listening so closely. Your words take our breath away to realize that at least one person heard and understood. :)
Here's a little of Dwights voice.
"... the only way you can make amends is to rip out that terrible elevator music that is playing on the video in the water cooled Foster museum there, rip it out and put in some Mullet Run, some authentic Mary Z. Cox's "Banjo Dreamin Suwannee Nights", a bit of Murat's legacy due to old Bonaparte, and some Peruvian red Tamlin, with Z's husky throat singing like Ledbelly loved, deep and bare. "
Bob even chuckled at "Peruvian red Tamlin." Now we're glad we took a minute to show everyone the Goncala Alves (Peruvian redwood) of my Kurt Simmerman dulcimer. We think Kurt put a little magic in his dulcimers back when he was building regularly. :)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Folk Music in St. Petersburg, Florida

Just returned from a week long workshop on Florida Folklife hosted by the Florida Humanities Council. The Laotian community entertained us with stories, dance, and a live band. The bamboo instrument is a type of mouth harp, and it and the drum provided a solid beat for the angel dancers.
If you'd enjoy seeing more photos of the week, go to and take a look at the photos for a group called

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Banjo Physics

David Politzer sent me these photos of banjos he's built from kits. (Musicmakers and Hughes Dulcimer) He said he had to make quite a few adjustments to make them turn out this nice--but aren't they lovely? I really love the one with the internal resonator and maple lamination (the rest and body are cherry) that goes the thickness of the neck . David writes that "somewhere in that sandwich they claim there's some steel, which should keep it straight in perpetuity."

Lo Gordon has been modifying the Saga kits and turning out some really wonderful sounding banjos with a metal internal resonator. He said he also has to make quite a few modifications to have them turn out so well. :)