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banjo boy

August 12, 2009

what happens when you take an american banjo player and travel with him to africa? he makes an amazing album with a number of great african musicians, that’s what.

Bela Fleckbéla fleck, the well known front man of béla fleck and the flecktones, released an album earlier this year on rounder records, throw down your heart. the album features artists from all over the african continent, collaborating with béla in a number of ways, either as singers, percussionists, or strummers. not only should you be looking to add this incredible album to your repitior, but you should also be looking out for béla and toumani diabate, one of the musicians on the album, coming to a venue near you. they recently played a free show at central park’s summerstage, and let me tell you, it was amazing! it was also packed, with the seating at full capacity, probably about 100 people standing in line in the hopes they might get in, and with the ground around the stage/seating area filled with blankets and picnickers who knew better than to even try and get in (i was one of those).

in addition to the album, there’s a documentary film by béla and sascha paladino about the making of the album, and béla’s experiences in africa while recording the album. you can get information about the film, and where it’s playing here. otherwise, check out béla’s site here.

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