Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Gunnar Salyer from Balama, Mozambique


What was it that first got you interested in playing the gutiar, mandolin or banjo?
I first got interested in guitar because my dad played and he taught me a few chords and bass scales. I was inspired to play banjo by banjo Ben’s lesson, Under the double eagle.

How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
I’ve been playing guitar for about two years, harmonica a year and a half, banjo just over a year, and fiddle eight months. My motivation to play comes from watching other musicians better than me, and the fact that I live in Africa, don’t have TV, and there’s not much else to do.

What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
My favorite guitar lesson is a tough call, but probably a tie between Under the Double Eagle, and Angeline the Baker advanced. On banjo I really like Under the Double Eagle and Will the Circle Be Unbroken.

What’s your goal when playing?
My main goal when playing is to make music that is both enjoyable to play and to listen to.

What’s your favorite hobby?
Besides playing music, my favorite hobbies are riding dirt bikes, parkour, and reading.

How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
I’ve been a gold pick member since Christmas last year, but also learned a lot from banjo Ben’s youtube lessons.

What do you do for a living?
I’m only fifteen, and have no job yet, (I don’t have a work visa). I also play ukulele, bass guitar, trumpet (three months) and bamboo flute. I’m the second of eight kids under 18 (same parents, none adopted, no twins and only one girl.) My parents are Christian missionaries in the bush. I live in Balama, Mozambique

An interesting fact about me (besides all I’ve mentioned) is that my full name is Gunnar Nathanael Dragonslayer Salyer. Yes, it’s on my passport. My siblings are Kanon Adonijah (17), Magnum Blade (13), Remington Garrett (11), Colt Valiant (9), Warrior Cache (7), Bianca Derringer (5) and Thunder Bolt (3). However, my dad otherwise doesn’t own any guns (they are illegal in Mozambique).


Hi Gunnar, What an interesting bio you have, I used to play the moothy (harmonica) when I was your age, no longer have the puff to blaw the reels.

I love Under the Double Eagle too, in my case it was Alan Munde 's DVD lesson that hooked me.

I am curious what is parkour ?

Congratulations Gunnar on your Gold Picker status. Those are some great names. I bet your parents are fun people. Maybe there will be a Baby Bazooka in the future.

What’s it like to live in Mozambique? Have you lived there your whole life?

As an aside, threads like this always astound me at the power of the internet to connect people. Thirty years ago it would have been pretty unlikely that someone in Africa would be learning music from a banjo-slinger in Tennessee. It would have been even less likely that they would be connecting with a community of students from all over the globe. These are interesting times.

Congrats again Dragonslayer.


Nice to meet you Gunnar!


Hi Chris @Woodshed it’s amazing that @BanjoBen 's Forum allows us the opportunity to connect with other students around the world.

Parkour (also known as free-running) involves such activities as climbing walls, throwing flips, dive-rolls, vaults, etc. Basically what you’d expect an active 15 y/o boy to do. I’m not advanced at it, it’s just a casual hobby for me.


Thanks, I have lived in the same house since 2006 and in moz since 05 when I was three so I don’t have much concept of what it would be like to live elsewhere, but, it’s kind of like being famous, because we have the only white kids in the village, and everyone wants to do the same things anyone else would do if a celeb lived near you.

Our village actually only got cell phone coverage in 2009 and reliable internet around '12-'13 so the last ten years for us

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it’s great to meet you. I love all the names, it’s not everyday you get to meet someone named Dragonslayer! I’m thankful for Missionaries like your parents, they are special people.


[quote=“Bcaves, post:8, topic:6386”]
it’s not everyday you get to meet someone named Dragonslayer!
[/quote] yeah, that totally made me popular at youth camp last year :sunglasses: