The Chesapeake Minstrels
The Chesapeake Minstrels were formed in 1982 by George Weigand and comprises musicians sharing a common enjoyment in performing American music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Weigand has played 'classic' five-string banjo both with ragtime ensembles and with his wife, Rose, playing piano. The Chesapeake Minstrels is the realisation of his idea for an ensemble to perform this music in genuine period style. All of the instruments used are 19th and early 20th century originals or of the same type in use then. The banjos are all open-back, gut-strung originals played finger-style. The banjorine is a small five-string banjo tuned a 4th or 5th higher than the ordinary banjo and often used as a melodie instrument. In keeping with the practice of musicians of the time, some improvisation (though less than in jazz) has been incorporated into these performances. All arrangements are by George and Rose Weigand.