Monday, June 29, 2009

More on Bela's African Banjo Travels

Bela Fleck will be doing a presentation on the African roots of the banjo at the Caramoor International Music Festival on July 3rd.

Of all Mr. Fleck’s endeavors, his Africa project may be the most ambitious. Like an anthropologist conducting fieldwork, he has moved among communities in Uganda, Gambia, Tanzania and Mali. Unlike many anthropologists, though, he does not just observe, he interacts.

Among the most fruitful of his interactions has been one with the Malian diva Oumou Sangare, the “songbird of Wassoulou,” whose group will join him at Caramoor. He said that he was impressed the instant he heard a recording of hers nearly a decade ago. “She was the person who made me want to go to Africa the most,” he said. “I fell in love with the sound of her voice.”

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