Well of Souls: Uncovering the Banjo’s Hidden History | Hybrid


The Filson Historical Society Tue, Feb 28 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM


This program is associated with the Filson’s People, Passage, Place exhibit. This exhibit will be open for viewing for 30 minutes prior to the start of the lecture.

Join author Kristina Gaddy for a discussion of her new book Well of Souls: Uncovering the Banjo's Hidden History. In an extraordinary story unfolding across two hundred years, Kristina uncovers the banjo’s key role in Black spirituality, ritual, and rebellion. Through meticulous research in diaries, letters, archives, and art, she traces the banjo’s beginnings from the seventeenth century, when enslaved people of African descent created it from gourds or calabashes and wood. Gaddy shows how the enslaved carried this unique instrument as they were transported and sold by slaveowners throughout the Americas. Learn about the earliest history of the banjo through music, images, and a reading, with stories of the banjo in Louisville and Kentucky. 

Kristina R. Gaddy, author of Well of Souls: Uncovering the Banjo's Hidden History and Flowers in the Gutter: The True Story of the Edelweiss Pirates, Teenagers Who Resisted the Nazis (Dutton 2020), is a Baltimore-based writer and fiddler. She has received the Parsons Award from the Library of Congress, Logan Nonfiction Fellowship and a Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Rubys artist award. She holds an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from Goucher College and her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Baltimore magazine, Washington City Paper, and other smaller history and music publications.