Lap Steel Guitar
Lap steel guitar
The lap steel guitar is a type of steel guitar which is typically played with the instrument in a horizontal position on the performer’s lap or otherwise supported. The performer changes pitch by pressing a metal or glass bar against the strings as opposed to a traditional guitar where the performer’s fingertips press the strings against frets. The bar placed against the strings is called a “steel” or “tone bar”. – Wiki
My name is Tosinger. I am a Nigerian singer/songwriter based in Atlanta, Georgia.
I believe I will be the first Nigerian female artist to learn, write songs and perform with the Lap Steel Guitar otherwise known as the Hawaiian Guitar. Please let me know of any contentions in the comment section. I am writing this post just to register it on the blogosphere, internet and digital world.
I did not pick up this instrument to be a first of anything. I already could play some other instruments on the basic level including the talking drum, acoustic guitar and keyboard by ear. I picked it because I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. I have always love the sound of it in Nigerian Juju music as made popular by King Sunny Ade. Read more about it here as to how and who started playing it in Lagos, Nigeria. I felt one with it and at home with it. It is said to be more challenging but I find it more comfortable for me, even more so than the acoustic. Before my legendary beloved musical Papa Majek Fashek passed, he made me promise him that I will pick up the guitar and focus on it as my main instrument. I will fulfill this promise in his memory.
Lap steel is widely used in American folk, country, western and blues music. Here is a list of only five female country music players, all white, that I could find on the web that play the lap steel. I googled “female lap steel guitarists” and didn’t see a single black woman. Googled some more and this article showed a more diverse list, albeit very inspiring pioneers, still no Black/African (See link -> https://sheshreds.com/issue-13-history-steel-guitar/#comment-48321) even no mention of those from the sacred steel music tradition. I do not see them on the mainstream scene. There are many other types of guitars and numerous wonderful female players but not of the lap steel, which may be considered obsolete but not on my watch.
I pay homage to Sister Rosetta Tharpe the Godmother of RocknRoll considered the first black female guitarist and Peggy Jones aka Lady Bo the Queen Mother of Guitar, one of the first (perhaps the first) female rock guitarists in a highly visible rock band, Bo Diddley’s band (Wiki)
Big ups to Fatoumata Diawara on the electric and Helen Ibe also representing Africa nicely on her guitar with the younger afrobeats millenial generation.
I documented my growing journey via Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Twitter with albeit amateur mobile videos, days 1-30. I am 43 as at 2020 when I focused on the lap steel. I challenged to touch it for 30 days consecutively, even after 30 days, a day will not go by (until the day that I leave this earth) that I will not touch the lap steel except for absolutely unavoidable reasons.
I hope to bless the world with new songs written on it and play and perform and warm hearts with it as long as I do music. So help me God.
Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk 🙂 . Check out my home on the web at http://www.tosinger.com for more about me and my music.
Love, Peace and Beautiful Music,
MY FIRST LAP STEEL GUITAR
So I continue to dig deeper, haven’t found an African/Nigerian yet, but I found this African American sister, Nikki Brown, and I daresay there might be more in the church that play the type of lap steel called “Sacred Steel” of the Sacred Steel tradition of COGIC.