Friday, April 24, 2009

New Banjo Movie

Throw Down Your Heart is the name of a new documentary following Bela Fleck across Africa, as he brings his banjo playing back to the instruments' native land. It opens today at the IFC Film Center in New York (and elsewhere, presumably).

Stephen Holden has a review in today's New York Times:
At every stop on a journey that takes him from Uganda to Tanzania to Gambia and finally to Mali, Mr. Fleck plays and records with gifted local musicians.


Mr. Fleck, a gentle, curious man of few words and formidable talents, is a benign presence. In a Ugandan village his banjo accompanies several local musicians playing a 12-foot xylophone. In Tanzania he collaborates with Anania Ngoliga, a master of the African thumb piano, an instrument consisting of metal tines of varying length attached to a wooden board. It is in Gambia that Mr. Fleck encounters the akonting, a primitive three-string forerunner of the banjo whose preservation is the mission of a troupe known as the Jatta Family.

(HT: Tina Aridas.)

1 comment:

Ellen Stanley said...

this movie was shown at folk alliance but i missed it due to meetings...i'm still bummed about it!