"Aunt" Samantha Bumgarner (October 31, 1878 - December 24, 1960) was an American acclaimed early country and folk music performer and singer from Dillsboro, North Carolina. She won much praise for her work with the fiddle and banjo. In 1924, accompanied by guitarist Eva Davis, she traveled to New York City and recorded about a dozen songs for Columbia Records. The recordings are also notable for being the first use of a 5-string banjo on a recording. She was a yearly staple at Bascom Lamar Lunsford's Mountain Dance and Folk Festival from 1928 until shortly before her death.
Folksinger Pete Seeger attended Lunsford's festival in 1935 at the age of 16 in the company of his father, musicologist and composer Charles Seeger, then working for the music division of the WPA, and his stepmother, noted modernist composer Ruth Crawford Seeger, and would have heard Bumgarner perform there. Seeger has credited Bumgarner as his inspiration for wanting to learn the five-string banjo. "He learned (he says) to play the banjo after first hearing one played by a mountain girl named Samantha Bumgarten [sic]—came from the Great Smokies"
Birth and Death Data: Born October 31st, 1878, Died December 24th, 1960
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1924
Roles Represented in DAHR: banjo, violin, vocalist, square dance caller
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Columbia||81706||10-in.||4/22/1924||Cindy in the meadows||Samantha Bumgarner ; Eva Davis||Female vocal solo, with fiddle (violin) and banjo||vocalist, instrumentalist, violin|
|Columbia||81707||10-in.||4/22/1924||I am my mamma's darling child||Samantha Bumgarner ; Eva Davis||Violin and banjo duet||instrumentalist, violin|
|Columbia||81708||10-in.||4/22/1924||Down the road||Samantha Bumgarner ; Eva Davis||Violin and banjo duet||instrumentalist, violin|
|Columbia||81709||10-in.||4/22/1924||Mountain-top||Samantha Bumgarner ; Eva Davis||Violin and banjo duet||instrumentalist, violin|
|Columbia||81710||10-in.||4/22/1924||Big-eyed rabbit||Samantha Bumgarner||Female vocal solo, with fiddle (violin) and banjo||vocalist, instrumentalist, violin|
|Columbia||81712||10-in.||4/22/1924||John Hardy||Eva Davis||Female vocal solo, with banjo||instrumentalist, banjo|
|Columbia||81713||10-in.||4/23/1924||Last gold dollar||Samantha Bumgarner||Banjo solo||instrumentalist, banjo|
|Columbia||81714||10-in.||4/23/1924||Every day blues||Samantha Bumgarner||Banjo solo||instrumentalist, banjo|
|Columbia||81715||10-in.||4/23/1924||Shout Lou||Samantha Bumgarner||Female square dance calls and banjo solo||instrumentalist, banjo, vocalist, square dance caller|
|Columbia||81716||10-in.||4/23/1924||Fly around my pretty little miss||Samantha Bumgarner||Female square dance calls and banjo solo||vocalist, square dance caller , instrumentalist, banjo|
|Columbia||81717||10-in.||4/23/1924||Gamblin' man||Samantha Bumgarner||Banjo solo||instrumentalist, banjo|
|Columbia||81718||10-in.||4/23/1924||The worried blues||Samantha Bumgarner||Female vocal solo, with banjo||vocalist, instrumentalist, banjo|
|Columbia||81719||10-in.||4/23/1924||Georgia blues||Samantha Bumgarner||Female vocal solo, with banjo||vocalist, instrumentalist, banjo|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Bumgarner, Samantha," accessed October 26, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108367.
Bumgarner, Samantha. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 26, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108367.
"Bumgarner, Samantha." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 26 October 2021.
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