Here’s one of my favorite tunes, the Turkish song Rampi Rampi:
And here’s a lesson explaining the rhythm and right-hand technique:
Finally, here’s the MP3 and tab that I posted earlier in this blog:
Tunes and tab for adventurous clawhammer banjo players
The version from Tom, Brad & Alice’s Holly Ding CD, with some, er, experimental percussion (darbuka, a Middle Eastern goblet-shaped drum). Recorded when I hadn’t played darbuka for 8 years so it’s a little rough.
The banjo is tuned eDGDE but is capoed at the 3rd fret to be in tune with the drum. I capo at the second fret to get into eDGDE, so moving the capo to the 3rd fret makes the open strings fD#G#D#F. The “Sail Away” part of the melody (high part) starts on the open first string: open first, first at the 3rd fret, open first again, third string at the 4th fret.
This is a very different “Sail Away Ladies” that Tommy Jarrell said he learned from a Civil War veteran in 1916 or ’17. I’ve also heard the tune on The Young Fogies, played by the Plank Road String Band.
I love the lyrics that Tom, Brad, and Alice found in “Negro Folk Rhymes” and put to this tune:
Never you mind what the rich folks say
May the Mighty bless you, sail away
Sail away, sail away, sail away ladies, sail away.
Never you mind what your daddy say
Shake your little foot and fly away
Never you mind if your mama say,
“Devil’s gonna take you,” sail away
An old-time tune done in Bulgarian 11/8. I added some traditional gankino riffs.
A Finnish polka that works for contra dancing. The banjo is tuned gEGBE. As with other tunes that have more than 2 parts, you might want to play the A and B melodies alone until the dancers are used to the dance, then toss in C and D for variety.
Played here at a brisk tempo for contra dancing.
A Macedonian dance tune with a part lobbed off for contra dancing. The tab has the complete version. It’s fun to play this through a cheap amp with a lot of distortion. Try that with your local dance group! And check out this YouTube video in which Mathieu uses the tune to demonstrate three picking styles.