Bela Fleck: The Africa Project


Béla Fleck
Throw Down Your Heart, the third volume in banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck's renowned Tales From the Acoustic Planet series, is the 11-time Grammy winner's most ambitious project to date and earning some of the best reviews of his career.

Through on-location collaborations with musicians from Uganda, Tanzania, Senegal, Mali, South Africa and Madagascar, Fleck explores the African origins of the banjo, the prototype of which was brought to American shores by African slaves. Transcending barriers of language and culture, Béla finds common ground with musicians ranging from local villagers to international superstars such as the Malian diva Oumou Sangare.

On March 26, Béla Fleck will embark on The Africa Project, a memorable 15-city tour featuring collaborations with Toumani Diabate (hailed as the greatest kora player in the world), guitarist Vusi Mahlasela - an inspiration to many in the anti-apartheid movement, blind thumb piano player and "kindred spirit" Anania Ngolia, and D'Gary, a fingerstyle guitar hero who adapts the traditional music of his home country, Madagascar.

Throw Down Your Heart is a companion to the award-winning film of the same name, which Béla and director Sascha Paladino are currently premiering at festivals nationwide.

"This is a story of how Béla Fleck, America's most celebrated banjoist, went on a quest in search of his musical soul mate's African roots - and wound up discovering himself... Nobody could have been more faithful in caring for them, which is why Throw Down Your Heart is not just a stunning documentary and soundtrack, but an important work of artistic memory and conscience." – Tina Daunt, Los Angeles Times

"[Béla Fleck] wasn't trying to go back to the common roots, so much as find ways to bring respective styles of today together. And the responsibility to adapt, he felt, was all his... What's striking with these sessions is how often he lays back and lets the other musicians set the tone." – Steve Hochman, AOL / Spinner

Béla Fleck / The Africa Project
Collaborations with Amazing African Musicians:

03/19/09 Thu Yoshi's Oakland Oakland, CA
03/20/09 Fri Yoshi's Oakland Oakland, CA
03/21/09 Sat Yoshi's Oakland Oakland, CA
03/22/09 Sun Yoshi's Oakland Oakland, CA
03/23/09 Mon Napa Valley Opera House Napa, CA
03/26/09 Thu Colonial Theatre Pittsfield, MA
03/27/09 Fri Ridgefield Playhouse Ridgefield, CT
03/28/09 Sat Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY
03/29/09 Sun Tarrytown Music Hall Tarrytown, NY
03/30/09 Mon Berks JazzFest Reading, PA
04/01/09 Wed Sheldon Concert Hall St. Louis, MO
04/02/09 Thu Uptown Theater Kansas City, MO
04/03/09 Fri Tennessee Theatre Knoxville, TN
04/04/09 Sat Savannah Music Festival Savannah, GA
04/05/09 Sun University of Florida Gainesville, FL
04/07/09 Tue Duke University Durham, NC
04/08/09 Wed Ryman Auditorium Nashville, TN
04/09/09 Thu The State Theatre Falls Church, VA
04/10/09 Fri University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
04/11/09 Sat Zeiterion Theatre New Bedford, MA

"Throw Down Your Heart" Screenings:
03.13-19 San Francisco, CA Roxie Theater
03.13-19 Berkeley, CA Elmwood Theater
03.19 Troy, NY EMPAC
03.28-29 Reading, PA Goggle Works
04.01 Savannah, GA Lucas Theatre
04.16 Silver Springs, MD AFI Silver
04.24-30 New York, NY IFC Center
04.30 Huntington, NY Cinema Arts Centre
05.05 Cleveland, OH Cleveland Museum of Art
06.05-07 St. Louis, MO Webster Univ. Film Series
06.12-14 Houston, TX Museum of Fine Arts
06.18-25 Denver, CO Denver Film Society

[Published on: 3/10/09]

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Deadphishbiscuits Tue 3/10/2009 10:31AM
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sounds sweet

Confucius starstarstarstarstar Tue 3/10/2009 10:50AM
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Now that's some good news right there!

Mr_McDankenstein starstarstarstar Tue 3/10/2009 10:55AM
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four shows in oakland and none in los angeles, damnit. i love how they say he will be accompanied by "amazing african musicians" it just makes me want to go more.

SCIcane Tue 3/10/2009 11:08AM
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Dying to go to this, but $50 a ticket, plus charges. Sadly can't afford to do that anymore.

BBFCFM515 Tue 3/10/2009 11:09AM
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Bela Fleck is the man, so this tour should be great. Too bad he isn't with the Flecktones though, that would be sweet.

gamecat starstarstarstar Tue 3/10/2009 11:38AM
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Just heard about this on NPR.

Sounds great,...just wish it was coming through Chicago.

Oh well, Ill buy the DVD.

Treetophigh Tue 3/10/2009 11:50AM
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STL on a wednesday?....


msudtg Tue 3/10/2009 12:19PM
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Too bad the Flecktones are not going to be touring anymore, with Coffin leaving for DMB permanently... im sure future man, bela and victor will be doing something though!!! Keep up the good work! I know too many people devastated by the break-up or break-up rumors, depending on who you ask...

chaseman starstarstarstarstar Tue 3/10/2009 01:01PM
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Saw the screening at the University of Tennessee campus.. with a Q&A session with Bela afterwards.

Very moving documentary. Go see this show if you can afford it!

DrFunkinstein Tue 3/10/2009 01:24PM
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treetophigh - I hear ya man, Sheldon opera house is too cool for a wednesday night show. Guess it will be a hungover Thursday at work

Deadphans starstarstarstarstar Tue 3/10/2009 02:53PM
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Hell yea, Toumani Diabate is amazing! This should be a great cd.

I downloaded a set on archive with Bela Fleck and Sandi Shankar on tablas. MIND BLOWING!

fishbassplayer Tue 3/10/2009 03:23PM
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Way to go Bela showing respect, history and love to his instruments roots.

strawberryJAMmer Tue 3/10/2009 03:47PM
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Bela is a boss. No doubt about it. Anything he does, I will be a fan of.

flygolf Tue 3/10/2009 07:52PM
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The film "Throw Down Your Heart" is really good!!! I highly recommend seeing it.

I was very lucky to catch Bela and the screening at Sarasota Film Fest 08… After the film he took questions from a packed room and played a tune sitting down in the front of the theatre.

PrinceofDANKNESS Tue 3/10/2009 09:39PM
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If you don't laugh you can suck my kiss

Rebacreates Wed 3/11/2009 05:05PM
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Bela, you are amazing man. Thank you for existing

MadonMDR Thu 3/12/2009 09:42PM
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Check out these dates for the flecktones. They'll be back together in america for only two months and have a Chicago date on 12/12/09. While I'm not really supposed to be announcing anything, you can probably put 2 and 2 together.

spwal starstarstarstarstar Sat 3/14/2009 07:53AM
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Can we get a Boston screening please???

rster22 Sat 3/14/2009 04:17PM
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i saw him and the flecktones at the blue note a few months ago and it was probably some of the best live music ive heard.....they reallly bring it