Sunday, June 28, 2009

Béla Fleck's African Banjo

As odd as this sounds to say, Béla Fleck is the banjo version of a cross between Jimi Hendrix and John Coltrane. A simple listen over at and you'll understand what I'm talking about: the man can flat out jam... on a banjo. But I'm not here to talk mere music. It seems Fleck has a strong desire to remind listeners worldwide that his instrument of choice takes its roots from African culture and to do this, he's made a film.

Titled Throw Down Your Heart, this feature length documentary "follows American banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck on his journey to Africa to explore the little known African roots of the banjo and record an album. It’s a boundary-breaking musical adventure that celebrates the beauty and complexity of Africa – an Africa that is very different from what is often seen in the media today" (from film website).

The documentary has already made the festival circuit rounds and racked up two Audience Awards and some high praise. Now, it's making a tour through American cities and (hopefully) will have a DVD release date for those unfortunate enough to miss out. In the meantime, head over to the film's site to watch a trailer, learn more details and even listen to the music resulting from Fleck's quest.

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