“The instrument proper to them is the Banjar, which they brought hither from Africa.” —Thomas Jefferson, 1781
Banjar, he wrote, because he found it jarring
to his cultured ears.
Because he was thinking of nightjar, &
how the whip-poor-will
disturbed his slumber with its
Because the singing was in
a nearly incomprensible jargon.
Because its roundness & depth
seemed sufficient for the keeping
of treasured things, as in a jar.
Because of its striking resemblance
to that drinking vessel in the sky,
which also empties itself
Because of the way it summons one
to the cut-out or Virginia jig, & that door
in the slave quarters