About the Film
In 2009, filmmaker Yasha Aginsky accompanied the great old-time musician Mike Seeger and his wife Alexia on recording trips through the Southeastern United States, documented by Yasha and his assistant, Slava Basovich. A tireless collector, performer and advocate of old-time music and musicians, Mike was on a mission to record a survey of contemporary traditional-style banjo playing. The musicians featured in BANJO TALES include Brien Fain; Peter Gott; Jerry, Sam and Sammy Adams; Tina Steffy, Susan Trianosky and Rhoda Kemp; Riley Baugus; Richard Bowman and Marsha Todd; Justin Robinson; Brian Grim and Debbie Yates; George Gibson; John Haywood; Jesse Wells and Jamie Wells; Brett Rattliff; Robert Montgomery; Leroy Troy and Rhiannon Giddens. Shortly after making these recordings, Mike fell very ill and then died peacefully at home in Virginia. This documentary is a chronicle of his last musical journeys and a testament to his life-long passion for traditional music. While BANJO TALES is the director's cut, a longer version of this documentary, JUST AROUND THE BEND, is available through Smithsonian/Folkways (SFW CD 40207).