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PBS series features Taj Mahal at UC

by Christine Mersch

If you missed Taj Mahal on campus earlier this year, the PBS series "History Detectives" will air footage of the blues icon's visit to the University of Cincinnati at 9 p.m. Monday, July 25 on CET, Cincinnati's PBS station.

Blues legend Taj Mahal

Blues legend Taj Mahal visited UC with PBS April 13. Photo/Lisa Ventre

Producers from PBS brought the legendary musician and American music historian to campus April 13 to inspect a banjo thought to have once belonged to a slave in Bethel, Ohio.

"Oh, yeah, you won't find a lot of these around," says Mahal about the instrument in an interview with Tukufu Zuberi. "It's amazing; some things were around, they were everywhere, and then all of a sudden they just seem to dry up and there's only a handful of them left around."

David Brown, a collector from Chicago, contacted "History Detectives" about the banjo he had bought at an auction several years ago. Once he studied the instrument, he found a crumpled note saying the banjo's previous owner was a family of abolitionists. A former slave in Bethel, about 30 miles east of Cincinnati, supposedly sold or gave the banjo to the family after emancipation.

To confirm the authenticity of this note, Brown contacted "Detectives," who found their answer in Mahal. PBS filmed the show in several Cincinnati area locations, including the downtown library and parts of Bethel.


PBS TV schedule Web site

PBS History Detectives

Mahal's Web site