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Banjo Films and Music

  • NYPL Performing Arts Library Lincoln Center New York, New York (map)

A Night of Banjo Films!

Rare 16mm prints of To Hear Your Banjo Play (1947) and The High Lonesome Sound (1962) followed by live music and square dancing! RSVP HERE

The New York Film and Video Council and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts present a special one-of-a-kind night of banjo films and live music!

In an unique after-regular-library hours program, we’ll screen rare 16mm prints of two cult classic banjo films, Irving Lerner & Willard Van Dyke’s To Hear Your Banjo Play (1947) and John Cohen’s The High Lonesome Sound (1962).

The films will be followed by a Q&A, and live music by some of the best banjo players in the city and in the film community—including an appearance from the legendary John Cohen himself (New Lost City Ramblers), Eli Smith (Down Hill Strugglers, Brooklyn Folk Fest), Stephanie Jenkins (Florentine Films), the inimitable Stephanie Coleman, and – just confirmed - The Chapin Sisters.

The evening will end in a square dance called by Alex Kramer inside the library.


Doors @ 6:30pm | Program starts @ 7pm ($10 suggested online donation goes to cover musicians and film prints.)

About the films:

To Hear Your Banjo Play (1947)

Produced and Directed by Irving Lerner and Willard Van Dyke

Written by Alan Lomax

Photographed by Richard Leacock

Featuring: Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Baldwin Hayes, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGee, Texas Gladden, Margot Mayo’s American Square Dance Group

The High Lonesome Sound (1962)

Produced and directed by John Cohen

Featuring Roscoe Holcomb, Bill Monroe, Shepard Family