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Samantha Bumgarner

"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

Recordings

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  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Bumgarner, Samantha," accessed July 29, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108367.

Bumgarner, Samantha. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved July 29, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108367.

"Bumgarner, Samantha." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 29 July 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108367

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