Banjoist & Musicologist
Greg C. Adams is an archivist (MLS), ethnomusicologist (MA), and musician who has been studying the banjo for nearly 20 years. He is an acclaimed banjoist of 19th-century "minstrel" era technique (or stroke style down-picking), an accomplished player of "classic banjo" from the turn of the 20th century, and was Grand Prize winner in the old time 3-finger category at the 2009 Charlie Poole Music Festival (Eden, NC). Greg has twice traveled to West Africa to study the Jola ekonting (also akonting) (2006, 2008) and was co-recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Apprenticeship Award to study the 4-string ngoni with renowned griot Cheick Hamala Diabaté (2009).
Greg is currently a contractual processing archivist at the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage where he recently co-produced Classic Banjo from Smithsonian Folkways. He also serves as an independent archival consultant for the Maryland State Arts Council's Maryland Traditions Program. Along with banjo scholars Bob Winans and Pete Ross, Greg is a guest curator for the 2014 exhibit entitled Making Music: The Banjo in Baltimore and Beyond at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. His recent ethnomusicology thesis—19th-Century Banjos in the 21st Century: Custom and Tradition in a Modern Early Banjo Revival (2012)—is available for download as is the white paper for his 2009 Project Director work for the Banjo Sightings Database through an NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant. In addition to participating in the Yankee Frolics project, Greg performs 19th century popular music with the music group Home Front.