Hey, Cynthia! I had the opportunity to see you play at the Carlyle hotel not long ago. It was fantastic! I was in the back of the room, off to the side. I couldn't help noticing your oistrich pants! Did you bag that critter yourself, or was it  on safari you apprehended the beast? Will you be wearing any other wildlife soon? and if so, where will that be? Have you ever experimented with Okapi or Kudu?Helmut Hedde

CS:  Dear Helmut Head, I mean Hedde, yes I did nab the poor helpless thing myself while on safari.  And yes, I do make it a habit to wear as many trophies as possible.  It gives me an aura of the exotic, and my audiences clearly respond well to it (you are a perfect example).  After all, what else is there in life?  I certainly don't want to do meaningless things like, say,  play the string bass....  [a bassist sent this -- yes Greg, I recognize your style anywhere!]

Hey, Cynthia!
A question...while reading Eddie Condon's We Called It Music, he says he started on Ukulele, then moved on to tenor banjo,
then his brother buys him a plectrum banjo. He writes that he has to learn a whole new set of chords "because the tenor banjo was tuned like a
ukulele." I play the ukulele...can I get a tenor banjo and just tune it say like a baritone uke? Or should I consult Mel Bay and learn it tuned to
fifths???  -- jp -- ukuleleike@earthlink.net

CS:  Tenor banjo tuning is C-G-D-A (low to high).  I'm afraid I don't know baritone uke tuning.  But frankly you are asking a question that has a
subjective answer, JP.  Some people feel that one should tune an instrument only the proper way and others feel it's fine to tune it however it
suits you and makes you happy, that there are no "rules."  In principle I definitely agree with the latter.  But if you are looking for the classic sound
associated with the instrument, then you will not quite find it by tuning differently.  Also, if you plan to use instructional materials, then of course
using a different tuning could be difficult.  But there are many wonderful players who used tunings different from the norm -- like my
hero Elmer Snowden, who played tenor banjo pitched in 5ths but starting with a low G instead of a C.  He did this because he used to play
mandolin and so he preferred to keep the same tuning, and in the process he not only had a hot, swingy style but also his own unique lower
banjo sound.  Good luck with whatever you choose, JP!

Hey, Cynthia!  i don't understand why you would post some of the nonsense that people write in.  some is ridiculous and shouldn't be up.  lms
CS:   I agree some is ridiculous, but it's also amusing -- at least to me, and since it's my page I get to choose. 

Hey, Cynthia!  Are you still working on your film about the banjo?  I know it's a big process.  Did the trailer get finished?  If so, what are you working on now?  Marty T.
CS:  Yes Marty, the trailer is finished and I'm proud of the results.  I am currently researching and applying for grants.  It's lots of work, so progress is slow but steady.  I am committed and determined as ever, though! 

Hey, Cynthia!   I became a fan via the McPartland interview.  I play plectrum banjo tuned to DGBE, because I'm a guitar player.  Is there any advantage for me to switch to standard plectrum tuning?  I want to find a dixieland band to play in again after a long hiatis - any suggestions as to how to find one?  Keep up the great work,  Ken S.--  kshuey@cshore.com

CS: I think whether or not to switch to plectrum (or tenor) tuning really has to do with whether you want a more authentic banjo sound, Ken.  As a non-purist, my own opinion is to do whatever suits you (I'd choose to keep it easy with the same tuning).  But many disagree and feel that guitar tuning undermines the banjo sound.  I agree it alters it, but consider that to be of lesser importance.  I feel it's MUCH more about playing approach than tuning.  Playing with banjo "character" requires a different approach than guitar -- and I don't mean adding corny nonsense that people often think sounds banjo-ish.  So, on a practical level there may be little difference which tuning choice you make, unless you are working with purists.  But musically, it depends on your priorities.

I have two basic suggestions for finding a band:  1)  Network -- check newspaper listings and go to hear bands in your area.  Introduce yourself and give them your card, tell them your background and offer to be a sub for their regular banjoist when he/she can't make it.  Ask about other players who might need a banjoist.  2) Put together your own band.  You can get out there and dig up a gig and then assemble a band via networking or advertising, or you can advertise in the newspaper that you are looking for players of this genre to jam with on occasion.  Basically, whatever your musical intentions, networking is the key.  Good luck, Ken!  Thanks for writing. 

Hey, Cynthia!  i hope you and everyone in nyc is doing better now that some months have gone by after the attack.  i visited there recently on business and saw ground zero.  it seemed right to pay my respects in person.  it also reminded me to appreciate people in music and other arts who give us so much joy.  it makes an important difference for everyone.  lenny  -- lwatkins326@aol.com

CS:  Ground zero is intense, to put it mildly.  I went there for the same reason as you.  I agree that the arts make the world a better place, and after the attacks I definitely felt reaffirmed about what I do.  Even something as small and odd as playing banjo matters!  Thanks for writing, Lenny. 

Hey, Cynthia!   I hope your film is as successful as the trailer shows it can be. Now that your director, Rob Fruchtman, received the director's award at Sundance this month, perhaps more attention will be given to your whole project. Perhaps you should post the trailer to your website so anyone can see how beautiful and talented you are?  sgp

CS:  Thanks for the good wishes and compliments.  However, Rob is not my director.  He is a good friend who has been incredibly generous with his guidance, support and time.  I couldn't have gotten this far without him!  I was so thrilled to learn that he and his partner won Best Director at Sundance for their documentary film.  A well-deserved honor.  I won't post my trailer as it is only for funding promotion, but I was considering posting some short live-in-concert clips.  I tend to be slow about improving this website, though, but hopefully I'll get it done reasonably soon.

Hey, Cynthia!  Hi !  Like your stuff !  What do you hear from Jack Graf, GOOD pianist & potentially good banjoist.  Do you know banjoist Carl Lundsford ?  Evil Andy --  paipai_id@webtv.net

CS:  I haven't heard from Jack lately.  Nice man, and yes, good pianist.  But I don't recall knowing he plays banjo also!   Yes, I know Carl L.  as well.  But now it's my turn for a question, Andy -- why are you evil??!

Hey, Cynthia!   I just wanted to say hello.... please keep in touch.  Joe Nania -- hollywoodjoe@usa.com, http://www.hollywoodjoe.com, music for all ages.....

CS:  I've no idea who you are, Joe, but thanks for writing.

Hey, Cynthia!   Your kind words of encouragement to me are now posted on my new website at:  www.nouveaubanjo.com , under the "quotes and links" page.  Maybe you and your friends can find something of interest elsewhere on the site.  Best wishes for all your endeavors."  Brad

 CS:  Check this guy out, folks -- he's great.  Brad, I'm looking forward to jamming with you this October in Germany.  Thanks for writing!

Hey, Cynthia!  Just writing to say hello and to find out if you ever found out about that banjo music for "Curse of the Jade Scorpion."  I'm especially interested to figure out what the chord is that was used in the "vamp."  It sounds like a G9th but I can't be sure.  From "Good Mike" -- mikescott88@alumni.indiana.edu

CS:  Great to hear from you, Good Mike!  It's been a while.  Geez, I DID know about that music, but it's been a while so I must find out again.  I'll post it when I find out.

Hey, Cynthia!  What has been going on with this page?  Seems like it stopped for a while.  A computer glitch?  I doubt people stopped writing. But then again, I rarely write, so figured I should.  I see you are busy as ever. Keep playing that great music.  Marc A. from Wisconsin

Thanks for being proactive, Marc!  Well, I must admit that the page freeze is my fault.  I don't have a good excuse -- I just took a break for a while.  But I'm back, so I welcome your posts.  And I particularly appreciate that you continued to check in!

Hey, Cynthia!  When you play in Italy??  Can I have the lyric of L-O-V-E?? Thanks. -- Chiara -- chizuzo@libero.it  
CS:  I'll e-mail the lyrics to you, Chiara..  Nothing planned in Italy at the moment.... to my regret!  But hopefully soon!

Hey, Cynthia!  Do you know of the whereabouts of Woody Allen?  I must jam with him in this lifetime.... I play a lot of the Django Reinhardt style songs that Woody so admires.... Please keep in touch, Joe Nania -- hollywoodjoe@usa.com -- I am here if you need to hear me... www.hollywoodjoe.com, www.mp3.com/hollywoodjoe -- and from Memphis with love... www.hollywoodjoe.8m.com

CS:  Of course I always know Woody's whereabouts.  At every second.  And I can tell you that he particularly loves jamming with strangers.  But Joe, if you love Django then you're probably an OK guy, so I wish you the best with your music.

Hey, Cynthia!  Thanks for a great show as usual in Toms River.  We see you every year.  My husband looks forward to it for weeks!   Your nice personality adds even more to the great music.  The other musicians were also wonderful.  We wish you a happy and prosperous year and we will certainly be back next year!  Martha (and Gerald)  Harvey

Thanks for your nice note, Martha!  We all had a great time there.

Hey, Cynthia!  Hello again.... I wanted to jam with Woody... how do I do that... you mentioned how he likes to jam with strangers.... can you please keep in touch with me by your site here as well as at my e-mail address.... Here I am on the internet www.hollywoodjoe.com which you can her lots of my originals...from pop to love songs to swing to rockabilly to country.... I do exist... "anology" is my solo guitar tribute to Django Reinhardt...being my name is Nania.... and from Memphis with love to you all... please stay in touch --- Hollywood Joe again...! --- hollywoodjoe@usa.com

CS:  Joey, Joey, Joey!!  I mean... Nania, Nania, Nania!!  I honestly thought it was clear that I was being facetious, particularly when I wrote that I know Woody's whereabouts at every second.  Nania, Woody is not going to jam with you.  I'm sincerely sorry -- I never meant to mislead you.
Hey, Cynthia!    what's the deal with this hollywood joe character?  did you check out his website? (ok, i admit i was curious)  he's an elvis impersonator!  go figure.  i mean, what does that have to do with jazz, and django?  keep playing your great music, cynthia.  hope to catch you this weekend at la belle epoque. -- suzannah s. from nyc  

CS:  You got me curious, Suzannah, so I checked him out.  I agree he does seem rather colorful, but hey, wouldn't life be boring otherwise?  And I know perfectly well that some people think that what I do is wierd as hell too.  I suppose it all comes down to one's taste in music... and occasionally in hairstyles...  
Hey, Cynthia!    Please excuse my persistence, but I've tried several times to post a message on Hey Cynthia, but I keep getting a response from Earthlink that it would not transmit (and I am using Explorer).  I hope this one reaches you.  I did get posted once before and you replied. Thanks for that.
     I write songs -- words and music -- and I really want to send you a lead sheet and demo CD of my bossa nova song, titled "Mantra Samba."  I'd love to hear you sing and play it.  I really believe it would work wonderfully.  It's a classic bossa nova tune and a good lyric.  If you can tell me where to send it, I'd be delighted.  I'd be even more delighted if you give it a listen when you get it.  And I'd be really stoked if you would mess around with singing and playing it.  And I'd be blasted out of the universe if I could ever hear you sing and play it.  Hope to hear from you soon.  Best wishes, Ken Shuey -- kshuey@cshore.com

CS:  I emailed my address (it's also on the record order form).  I look forward to receiving your tune!  Sorry about the problems with posting.  I only recently learned that it's been a problem for a while now.  And, unfortunately, I learned that I must call Earthlink about it -- it's nothing I can fix on this end
Hey, Cynthia!   and Suzannah,  If you think just because a person resembles a certain famous entertainer such as Elvis....but cannot possible be into jazz as well as swing....you are both wrong....have a look and yes it is true I do have a sort of 1950's look....but I love all styles of music such as Django Reinhardt and Oscar Aleman...Stephane Grappelli...Charlie Parker...Bing Crosby...Duke Ellington...Tal Farlow was a good friend of mine...I have listened to Django since 1967... and he helped me with many things on the guitar ... so do not go by a book's cover ...closed minded people only hear what they want to hear ... Wayne Wright ... Les Paul's one time rhythm guitarist is a buddy of mine.... I love many styles of music ... Oh, Suzannah won't you listen a little more to my ..."Nanology"... it is a solo guitar tribute to Django Reinhardt.  I wrote it because of a great love of his music and playing --- Hollywood Joe --- Hollywoodjoe@usa.com

CS:  OK, I admit it... this page can get boring sometimes, so I'm glad when things occasionally sizzle a little. Now Joe, I can't speak for Suzannah -- hopefully she will for herself! -- but I'm sorry if my hair joke offended you.  I was being funny at your expense.  Well, at least I think I was being funny.... And when I wrote that "it all comes down to one's taste in music," I'm not sure if you misconstrued...  I meant that some people think what I do is wierd, and often these same people also don't particularly connect to my music, while others who do connect often also find me to be, well, normal.   And I imagine that kind of reaction is pretty common.  Now of course I appreciate that people frequently have diverse taste in music!   That's a no-brainer, to say the least.  I mean, I do too.   But if people didn't have these differences, then geez, we'd have no diversity in the arts!   And that would be incredibly lame.  Not to mention boring.  And, of course it's also fun when others share similar tastes.  By the way, please say hi to Wayne for me.  Haven't seen him in years.  We used to gig together when I was first starting to play.  I enjoyed the cool stories he used to tell! I understand he stopped playing ages ago... is that true?
Hey, Cynthia!  glad you wrote that about the earthlink problem cause i tried to post a couple times and gave up.  guess i should have tried regular email before. my question ---  did you choose an open-back because of the sound?  your instrument  ROCKS. --  jm5826@aol.com

ed you like my banjo!  But actually it's not an open-back, though people generally think it is because I have a clear plexiglass resonator on it.  I took off the wood resonator and also the metal flanges and screwed on a piece of 1/4" plexiglass, using 1/2" spacers so there is airspace between the resonator and the rim,  and viola -- my banjo became a couple pounds lighter plus a smaller, more comfortable size.   The sound is unaffected in that I was not able to discern a difference between this and the wood resonator.  However, I also learned that this doesn't work with every banjo -- it can screw up the sound, so one must first experiment to see if it can be an option.  Luckily, with my banjo it ROCKS. 

Hey, Cynthia!  Howdy!  I haven't been able to come hear you play in TOO long!  Hope your summer is going well.  As the old cliche goes, "hot enough for ya?"  I have a boring "gear question" for you and anybody else out there... I don't suppose you know anybody who might have a wierd piece of resonator hardware --- StewMac doesn't have it, Luthiers Mercantile doesn't.  Carlo Greco doesn't know where to look, although he could certainly make one if it came to that.  Anyway, it's a mounting bracket, for a resonator that has the hole through the center.  I have a long bolt that is supposed to thread into some sort of bracket mounted on the dowel stick.  But NO ONE has the brackets.  (This is what happens when one buys old stuff, I guess.)  And hey, have you heard the guys in Banjomania?  Found their CD in my local library.  (Of course filed under "country" because, you know, it's banjos...)  Anyway, they're good for a laugh and technically proficient, although a bit campy-kitschy for my taste.  (Insert haughty sniff here.)  So let's see if this posts this time, eh?  Toodles, Good Matt Hickey

Great to hear from you, Good Matt!  Regarding your bracket question, I'm afraid the only suggestion I can think of that you haven't already mentioned is to e-mail a couple banjo guys I know who are more connected to the buying/selling/trading aspect of the banjo world than I am.  Who knows, they might know someone who knows someone.... I'll email you separately with that info.  Yes, I do know Banjomania, and am friends with some of the guys who are or were in the group.  I was actually asked to consider joining them several years ago, but turned them down.  Musically and artistically their agenda was too different from mine, so it wasn't for me.  But they have certainly had some excellent players with them, and of course, to each his/her own!  (Also at that time they had extremely long stints on the road, and though I was glad for their booking success, I wasn't interested in doing their difficult travel schedule.)  I suspect their record company might have deliberately had the CD categorized under country since that genre has a MUCH bigger audience perusing the bins than early jazz .  They might have figured that since it's banjos they can easily get away with it.  But who knows.  Anyway,, I hope you and your family enjoy the rest of the summer.  It sure has flown by!! 

Hey, Cynthia!  I want to know about your video.  I know it's a documentary on the banjo, but do you show the African pre-curser instruments?  Do you have the early American musicians (heros, mentors, etc.)?  Why did they add the fifth string?  Who are the great female banjo players?  Is there any significance to the blue pick?  Is there any difference between your style of playing (New York style?) and Banu Gibson (New Orleans style?) -- Michael Crosby

Wow, Michael,.... I'm always glad of such interest in my instrument, but to answer your questions properly would require days!  So, regarding the banjo history stuff, I can recommend a book called:  "That Half-Barbaric Twang" by Karen Linn.   The film will describe where the instrument comes from, but will focus on the banjo, not pre-banjos.  The kind of pick I use has different thicknesses designated by color.  Blue is slightly less thick than purple.  It does come in handy when I drop it since no one would dare to have a carpet or floor of that color!  My style is indeed New York-influenced, though I am not sure if Banu's style is New Orleans, even though that's where she lives. Though styles are historically associated with different areas, times are different and players may or may not choose to adapt their region's musical approach.  I also heard that Banu is now more modern, though I don't actually know.  Plus, many of us become adept at various regional styles, and simply do whatever is appropriate to the music being played.  I hope that answers your questions, Mike!  

Hey, Cynthia!   I wanted to hear your sound bytes, but they all returned the error message: "10060 - timeout."  I'd love to hear your single-line solos.  Regards, Marcus.

CS:  Marcus, you are right, they don't seem to be working.  So sorry -- I must attend to fixing that!  In the meantime, I can direct you to two other places where you can hear some of my playing.  One is at Jazz Banjo Magazine, at www.jazzbanjo.com, but the page with the sound bytes is www.jazzbanjo.com/vol3no2/sayer9.htm.  Also, I was contacted by BANJOJAZZ radio to be included, though I don't know how to find specified artists.  Maybe you can see if there's a way..... they're at www.live365.com and type Banjo Jazz in the search engine.  In the meantime, I will look into getting my page fixed.

Hey, Cynthia!   I understand you have a new release out, yet I don't see it listed on your website.  Is it distributed yet? -- Allen  abringst@aol.com

CS:  "SOUVENIRS" will be posted very soon.  It was released a few weeks ago and I've been touring pretty consistantly so just haven't had the chance to post it.   It happens that a general "facelift" of my website is starting soon as well.  First priority is to get "Souvenirs" listed, and then let the changes begin....

By the way, SOUVENIRS is a Multimedia CD, meant for PC or Mac computers, not stereo systems.  I didn't even know what a multi-media CD was before it was suggested that I do this!  (I understand one can hear the music -- over an hour of it -- plus see visuals on a DVD player also, but would have no access to all of the interactive parts of the CD this way.)

Hey, Cynthia!   I was at a club in Japan a while back and saw a band that had a banjo player in it.  She was a big fan of yours!  Your stellar reputation is worldwide, of course!  Best wishes, George Gee --gg@georgegee.com --   www.georgegee.com

CS:  Thanks so much for your note, George!  I am acquainted with two professional women banjoists in Japan...I'm wondering if you saw one of them!  I wish you the best with your excellent swing band.  I get your emailings and it's great to see how busy you are!!  I wish you continued success!

Hey, Cynthia!   I saw you on RAI TV with Woody Allen in Milano!!  A good show!!  The band and even Woody played so good!  You are beautiful!!  Will you do another TV show?  M. Belliani

CS:  Glad you enjoyed the show, M!  I don't know if we will do more for TV, but I think it's possible.  You saw a private concert that we did in Rome (for the Mayor and invited guests).  It was a lot of fun, and also quite interesting to experience.  The concert was filmed both for national Italian television as well as for a DVD.  I don't know when the DVD will be released, but I imagine it will be soon.  It will be sold throughout Europe. Thanks for writing!
Hey, Cynthia!   I'm a French guy from Paris and I want to say a big thank you for your concert with Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band (concert of November 1, 2002).  What a wonderful evening!  It was a big moment of happiness with this warm music from New Orleans.  Of course I came to see Woody Allen, but I discovered very inspired musicians with Woody.  

You, Cynthia, I have been under the charm of your hot voice and of your elegance.  If I have the opportunity to see you for a next concert tour in France, I would like to see you play jazz banjo.  Some specialists say you are the best of your generation.  Again thank you, and also pass on my best wishes to Woody.  With your music you are the best of the United States.  Best regards from Paris. -- Olivier Ansart -- ansart.o@noos.fr

CS:  That particular concert was our favorite one on the tour, Olivier.  I'm so glad you enjoyed it!  We did too.  Woody couldn't stop talking about it afterwards!  Not only did we get to play in this incredibly beautiful and historically significant theatre (Theatre des Champs Elysees), but we were greeted by the most warm and enthusiastic audience possible.  Also, thank you so much for your compliments.  I did play jazz banjo in Paris this past March, but I'm not sure when I'll be back.... hopefully it won't be too long!  Sincerest thanks for writing.
Hey, Cynthia!   Hello out there across the sea!  Can't wait to hear/see/experience "Souvenirs!"  And I'm glad to hear it will play on Macs -- I can plop it on my laptop on the train.  (Beats workin'!)  I haven't been able to find it anywhere, though -- any thoughts?  Hope all the touring hasn't left you too tuckered out -- although I seem to recall that "Jazz At Home" came to be after a lengthy tour, so you see all's for the best in this best of all possible worlds!  My own whirlwind musical life this season will consist of driving 8 minutes to play guitar and mandolin for my neighbor's church Christmas concert.  Whew, can a guy get a breather around here?!? :-)  Have  a great turkey day and holiday season, and hurry back for some NYC banjo gigs, will ya?  Cheers -- Matt

CS:  Always nice to hear from you, Matt!  At this time "Souvenirs" can only be purchased through me because it hasn't yet been distributed anywhere else.  It will eventually be with some banjo and jazz CD outlets (but not in Jazzology Record's catelogue as it's not through them).  And, it will be listed on my website soon, but that is currently being upgraded and a few other problems needed attention first -- like my poor disconnected sound bytes (of which I've gotten numerous complaints -- sorry 'bout that!).  I'm happy to report that was fixed today.  But I digress....I'm delighted you're looking forward to checking out "Souvenirs!"  WIshing you and your family a wonderful holiday season, and hope you wail at your church Christmas concert! 

HEY, CYNTHIA! page limitations:
You can submit a post with no problem if you use Microsoft Internet Explorer. But if you are using Netscape, it does not seem to go through.  So, please use MIE, or use e-mail, but then please indicate "to be posted" or "for Hey Cynthia" or "for HC" or something to that effect on the subject line of the e-mail. 


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I’ll do my best to respond promptly. Thanks & catchya soon! --- Cynthia

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