BANJO TALES with Mike Seeger
BANJO TALES with Mike Seeger accompanies the late National Heritage Fellow, American musician Mike Seeger, on his last musical journeys through southeastern Appalachia, as he records and talks with some of his favorite old old-time musicians.
In early 2009, though weakened from a ten-year battle with lymphoid leukemia, Mike traveled through the southeast (Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia) by car to record some of the finest southern traditional banjo players in their homes. Filmmaker Yasha Aginsky accompanied Mike and his wife Alexia and filmed as Mike interviewed, recorded and interacted with the talented and colorful musicians who were being recorded. Many of the banjo players also sang or fiddled in these sessions as well, and they were occasionally joined by other musicians, including friends, brothers, fathers and Mike Seeger himself. In every encounter and conversation Mike inquired about the role of old-time music in the player’s past and present life, revealing an on-going rich cultural heritage that forms the heart of this documentary.
After the last shoot in June, Seeger and Aginsky made plans to get together in early September in California to begin editing the material they had collected. Upon his return home to Lexington, Virginia, Mike fell very ill with an aggressive new cancer, multiple myeloma, and on August 7, 2009, he died peacefully at his home, leaving this wealth of video material in Yasha’s hands.