ancient instrument has a fragmentary history | Entertainment


Okanagan musician Jack Godwin spent time during the COVID lockdown decoding a heirloom instrument with a

despised history.

Godwin, better known as the leader of the Kettle Valley Brakemen, was given a musical instrument that had not been used for at least 60 years.

“It was certainly a mysterious instrument for me. In 60 years of music, I had never seen one, ”said Godwin.

“The Gibson Company only made these four-string tenor resonators from 1925 to 1929. They can be very loud and their main function was to keep the beat in orchestras in minstrel shows. With whites playing in blackface unpleasant to modern audiences, this instrument has not been touched for decades, but it will have new life.

During the lockdown, Godwin wondered how he could reuse the ancient instrument to play his own folk / bluegrass songs.

“Having never wanted to play a banjo, figuring out how to make music on it has been a rewarding and creative challenge. I ended up using heavier than normal strings and uniquely tuned them and shaped and sanded my own picks. The addition of a bottleneck slide gives a bluesy feel to the sound.

Godwin has been a regular Sunday afternoon outside the Naramata Heritage Museum for years. It has been closed since 2020, but reopened on Canada Day.

Godwin will perform at the museum all summer, Sundays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about the museum, call 250-496-5709.


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