The Librarian and The Banjo premieres in New York


For Immediate Release Oct. 3, 2013

THE LIBRARIAN AND THE BANJO, the inspiring story of a music librarian who literally wrote the book on slave music in America, will make its New York film premiere Oct. 11 and Oct. 13 at two screenings in Brooklyn.librarian_banjo_type_bw

The 56-minute film tells the story of Dena Epstein, now 96 years old, whose trailblazing scholarship was the first to take on the old myths about the banjo and prove its African-American origins and West African roots. Her work shattered myths about the roots of American music, and has been described as “monumental.”

Chosen for the CBGB Film Festival, the documentary will be screened Friday Oct. 11, 8:30 p.m. at indieScreen in Williamsburg. The film will be followed by a Q&A with the director, Jim Carrier, and banjo performances by six of the movie’s subjects. The venue, 289 Kent Avenue at S. 2 Street, is described by New York magazine as a “cinephile’s dream.”

On Sunday Oct. 13, the film is the centerpiece of an afternoon workshop and performance at Jalopy, the renowned theater and music school at 315 Columbia Street. Starting at 1 p.m. banjo historians will outline Dena’s pioneering work, show the film and finish with a performance of banjo styles covering the entire spectrum of banjo history, from gourd to bluegrass banjos. Performers include Shlomo Pestcoe, Greg Adams, Pete Ross, Tony Thomas and other guests.

Dena Epstein, front, with the Carolina Chocolate Drops in October 2009

Dena Epstein, front, with the Carolina Chocolate Drops in October 2009

The LIBRARIAN AND THE BANJO features interviews with Dena, academics, banjo historians and musicians including the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Bela Fleck, Tony Trischka and Eric Weissberg. The soundtrack, from dozens of banjo players, includes music on gourd akontings, minstrel instruments and bluegrass banjos. Among featured artists are Stephen Wade, Sule Greg Wilson and Pura Fe.

Among music historians interviewed in the film are: Bill Ferris (former NEH chairman), Bob Winans, Tony Thomas, Greg Adams, Laurent Dubois, Bobby Fulcher and Daniel Jatta.

For more information, a trailer, reviews and DVD sales, visit the film’s Web site: Or visit our Facebook page.

For press interviews and artwork, contact Jim Carrier at 608-467-2662, cell 703-408-5924 or by email: