Filed under: Music
Bela Fleck asks you to ‘Throw Down your Heart’
Bela Fleck travels through Uganda, Tanzania, The Gambia, and Mali to explore the little known African roots of the banjo and record an album. It celebrates the beauty and complexity of Africa and showcases the side that doesn’t ahave to do with war, disease, or poverty. It also highlights how richly diverse Africa’s music traditions truly are.
Bela decided to go visit Africa because his instrument of choice is the banjo which is originally an African instrument. His ability to play any genre of music with it (jazz, classical, world, pop), reflects his passion for the banjo, and his desire to share that passion. He is the recipient of 8 Grammys and has been nominated 20 times.
The banjo is actually a descendant of an African instrument. West Africans have long played an instrument that looks and sounds much like the banjo. Many slaves from West Africa brought the banjo, and the knowledge of how to make it, to the United States. On plantations in the American South, slaves were not allowed to play drums, but they were allowed to play the banjo. Soon, whites started copying it, and the banjo evolved into the instrument we know today – and became a part of American culture. Béla wanted to go to Africa to trace the roots of the banjo, the instrument that defines who he is. He travels and performs with villagers, a family, Oumou Sangare from Mali, and other international stars.This is a great film that has already been nominated for several awards. For more information please visit the official website.