There was a time...  

 John Salicco 
Historical Impersonator, Writer and Musician


The 49er:
A Gold Run Musicianer
Time frame: 1850's

The Klondike
Tales of a Sourdough
Time Frame: 1898

The Banjo:
An American Gypsy
Time frame: 19th Century

  Jacques Portier:
Old Nor'Wester
Time frame: 1830's

The Great Depression:
How do you spell relief?
Time frame: 1930's


Story Telling


There was a time in History
 Seminar Series




Originally developed for Inquiring Mind, a program  of Humanities Washington, this presentation is now offered to the general public.  Please contact me for details.

The Banjo - An American Gypsy

This is a presentation covering the origins, the development and travels of the banjo in America.  This is a lecture punctuated by musical samplings performed with replica 19th Century instruments.

I am often asked why I make Banjos.  For me it is all about connections.  Understanding where humanity has travelled sheds light on the present and points the way forward.  When making banjos, I feel the connection of history.  I feel that I am helping in my own small way to connect others with the roots of a rich musical heritage. 

The banjo is an inextricable part of folk music.  The roots of American folk music are legion, yet the synthesis of cultural disparities in this art form is typical of how the “melting pot” synthesizes and transforms disparate cultures into something uniquely American.  The banjo is both the voice of an ancient African hunter-gatherer and the voice of the urban American performer of the industrial age.  It is the voice of the slave and the voice of the master.   

With today’s revival of “roots” music the banjo is experiencing a rebirth.  Across time and space, the fretless banjo echoes the human experience, singing a different song to each generation that is at once both unique and yet familiar.  As we pluck its strings we become part of an unending human chain. The gut string fretless banjo sings to us at a visceral level connecting us to those who have gone before and creating a bridge to not only those in the here and now, but to those who are yet to come.

This presentation is suitable for elementary school age through adult audiences.


Fee for this program is $300 + transportation & lodging, if outside the greater Seattle/ Tacoma/ Olympia, WA area. 

Usual program length is approximately 1 hour.


For booking information:

email or call 206-497-0049
Write: 3607 Broadmoor Dr NE, Tacoma, WA  98422











John Quincy Adams/ The 49er/ The Banjo: An American Gypsy/ Jacques Portier/ The Great Depression/ Story Telling/ Nisqually Seminar Series/ Flat Seventh/ Inquiring Mind/ About Us/ John Salicco Bio/There was a time in History/ John's Performance Calendar/ Links