A musical trip to Africa

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Tonight NWFF begins it’s week run of Throw Down Your Heart, a documentary that follows banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck as he travels through Uganda, Tanzania, Gambia and Mali, “soaking up traditional sounds and styles all the way” as the Seattle Times puts it.

Says the Times:
“Carrying a boyish sense of wonder and a musicologist’s hunger for anything new, Fleck shares his fingerpicking genius with a coterie of natives, many of whom have never seen or heard a banjo.

But Fleck is also truly interested in gaining the knowledge and insight of his collaborators. In dusty villages or makeshift shanties, he carries on a string of musical conversations that are improvised or carefully crafted in a spiritual back-and-forth of melodious dialects.

…His banjo is a remarkable foil for a variety of African pop and folk styles. Fleck finds the nuance of harmony whether he’s accompanying a 12-foot marimba or a chorus of kalimba finger pianos.

This is an honest journey into discovery that reveals the connection music brings between cultures where commonality is not always easy to find..”

Read the whole review here.

Adds the Stranger:
“Fleck comes off as a genial dork, like a Rick Steves of the banjo, and a few scenes mine either chuckles or sentimentality from his sometimes awkward but earnest ambassadorship. The best moments, though, are those in which the cameras and microphones simply capture the music being made by Fleck and these musicians, and the film contains many such moments.”

Tickets are selling briskly! Get yours today.

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