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"Little Birdie" by Ralph Stanley at 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Ralph Stanley, born in Virginia, USA, in 1927, is an influential and celebrated figure in the history of bluegrass music. He created a unique style of banjo playing, sometimes called "Stanley Style," characterized by incredibly fast "forward rolls" (a technique in banjo playing) led by the index finger. Stanley often played with a capo to use the higher registers of the banjo. This 2003 performance by Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys demonstrates the instrumental solos and breakneck speed that characterize bluegrass music. More recordings by the Stanley Brothers