From its ancient, straight-outta-Africa origins to American mountain primitivo to the mad, minimalist '60s psych-garage style of The Monks' Dave Day, the banjo has played an invaluable role in our musical style and popular culture. The banjo, after all, was the critical linch pin that first linked the African rhythm tradition with European melody back in the 1700s — a union that essentially created the bedrock upon which our massively influential gospel-blues-jazz-rock & roll evolution occurred. With acclaimed picker Bill Evans' presentation The Banjo in America, it's safe to expect a comprehensive, colorful crash course in all things related to the noble pursuit of banjo banging. Evans, a world-class performer-educator-author-composer, is set to run the gamut from genuine, deep-roots West African workouts to the nascent 19th-century rock & roll that blackface minstrelsy represented through Civil War–era folk to the joyous funk of ragtime and Dixieland and the high-velocity bluegrass breakdowns that typify our perception of the banjo to this day. So much more than a cornball, string-section stepchild, Evans shall demonstrate just how crucial a role the instrument had in shaping, not just America's but the entire world's musical life. Boulevard Music, 4316 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City; Sat., Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m.; $15. (310) 398-2583; –

Sat., Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m., 2013

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