The banjo in the 1960s and into the 1970s was the instrument of socialists following along behind the lead set by Pete Seeger. There was a time when something like half the people I knew played the banjo. There below is a Wikipedia photo of my most long-standing friend from nursery school, Mitch Podolak, who I now find passed away last year, which I did not until this moment know. And here is his Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitch_Podolak
This was part of what I wrote about him in days past:
Mitchell Podolak, now merely Mitch, is the person who I have consciously known for a longer time than anyone else in my entire life. We were in nursery school together and then went to various summer camps and I am not even sure that maybe we even met up at High School again. But around the age of 14 he decided that this was not for him and off he went, so by the time he was 17 or so, he had hitchhiked back and forth across Canada around a dozen times. A true Woody Guthrie type of a kind that does not exist today. I have met up with him only once since those days, on a visit I made to Winnipeg in the late 1990s, where he really has put down roots.
He is one of the few people I know from my early youth who is famous enough to show up on Google when you put in his name. Our politics are, however, not all that similar. Yet I should mention that this was not always the case. The nursery school we met at was run by comrades for the children of comrades. Both of us began our treks through life on the far left side of politics. I am where I am, and this is where he is.
I might mention our days at Camp where in 1955, two musicians came to visit, one who played the concertina and the other, none other than Pete Seeger himself, who came and played the banjo [which was, and by no coincidence, long-necked, five-stringed and wood-framed]. I remember virtually nothing else from my camping days – this is, after all, sixty years ago – but I do remember this concert. The result has been that the only two instruments I own and play are the concertina and banjo. So whatever may have separated us in life, whether time, distance or politics, we share a love of folk music that transcends all else.
Sic gloria transit mundi.