Skip to Content

From Africa to Appalachia: An Evening with Cheick Hamala, Sammy Shelor, and Danny Knicely at the Jefferson School


An Evening with Cheick Hamala Diabate, Sammy Shelor and Danny Knicely

Thursday, February 20, 2014

8 pm (est)
& A Visit to WTJU at 4 pm (est)

In conjunction with the Virginia Folklife Program and Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, WTJU is delighted to present "From Africa To Appalachia: An Evening With Cheick Hamala Diabate, Sammy Shelor and Danny Knicely."  Earlier in the day there will be a Banjo and N'goni Workshop with Sammy Shelor, Cheick Hamala Diabate, and Danny Knicely at The Bridge PAI, before they stop by Folk & Beyond at 4 pm (est) for some live music and conversation with Virginia State Folklorist Jon Lohman.

You can stream their visit to WTJU anywhere in the world at, or by using TuneIn.

The development of the 5-string banjo, among the very first truly American-born instruments, provides a revelatory lens into the development of American popular music and culture, and its immense contributions by African cultural traditions. What we now know as the banjo was derived from lutes brought by enslaved Africans to the New World, most notably the West African n’goni and kora. It has been well argued that the European violin (fiddle) and African-derived banjo comprised “the first duet” in the New World, providing the cornerstone of American musical forms for centuries to come.

With this musical history in the background, The Virginia Folklife Program presents From Africa to Appalachia. This concert will take the n’goni and the banjo full circle, bringing together Grammy-nominated Master Malian Griot Cheick Hamala Diabate with Sammy Shelor, one of the most celebrated bluegrass banjoists of his generation. Much acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Danny Knicely will join in, as well as numerous special guests, guaranteeing a truly memorable and powerful evening of music.

This event is produced by the Virginia Folklife Program at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, in partnership with the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center and WTJU-Charlottesville.

Tickets for this concert are available at the Virginia Folklife website.

WTJU is owned and operated by the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia.
The opinions expressed by announcers or guests on WTJU are not necessarily the opinions of WTJU or the University of Virginia.