Album:Throw Down Your Heart: Tales From The Acoustic Planet Vol. 3: Africa Sessions
Banjo whiz Bela Fleck is probably best known for leading his group The Flecktones. He started in bluegrass but he's one of those guys who likes to explore different musical cultures. This 2009 CD Throw Down Your Heart is the third in a series of musical explorations. Fleck went to Africa and took a film crew with him. Fleck was born July 10, 1958 in New York City. He started out as a member of the 80s bluegrass group New Grass Revival and then formed Bela Fleck and the Flecktones with bassist Victor Wooten in 1988. The Flecktones aren't active right now. But even when they were, Fleck recorded solo albums that didn't fit into what The Flecktones were doing. In 1995, he recorded the album Tales From The Acoustic Planet with his usual bluegrass crowd along with jazz musicians like Chick Corea and Branford Marsalis. The album was so successful that Fleck decided to turn it into a series of albums. Volume two was The Bluegrass Sessions in 1999. For volume three, Fleck went to Africa and took a film crew with him. The album and film are both titled Throw Down Your Heart. Fleck recorded in places like Tanzania and Uganda. But his main tour guide was the fabulous Mali singer songwriter Oumou Sangare who I have written about before. A lot of the film is told through her point of view. The album won two Grammys and the film is available on DVD. There is also a second volume of Africa Sessions available as a digital download through Fleck's website. These days Fleck performs a lot with his wife Abigail Washburn. And he records with all kinds of musicians. His latest CD The Imposter is a classical composition recorded with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. So he's always doing something interesting. Here's Bela Fleck with Oumou Sangare performing Djorolen from the film Throw Down Your Heart.