Bela Fleck: Throw Down Your Heart: Tales From The Acoustic Planet, Vol. 3 – Africa Sessions (CD)

 

Bela Fleck: Throw Down Your Heart: Tales From The Acoustic Planet, Vol. 3 – Africa Sessions (CD)

2009; Produced by Bela Fleck Productions Inc. Under exclusive license to Rounder Records. (http://www.rounder.com/); info@rounder.com

 

1. Tulinesangala – Uganda (2:50)

Nakisenyi Women’s Group

Chanting, clapping

 

2. Kinetsa – Madagascar (4:16)

D’Gary

Really cool. Appalachian banjo-like sounds. Reminiscent of a familiar song I can’t figure out. Violin.

 

3. Ah Ndiya – Mali (3:49)

Oumou Sangore

Bluesy start, progressing into Chinese/Arabic/funk-like stuff. Cutting woman’s voice.

 

4. Kabibi – Tanzania (2:30)

Anania Ngoglia

Woah… crazy-jazziness sounding like Elmo — No, not St. Elmo’s fire, but Elmo from Sesame Street! With xylophone-like accompaniment providing Caribbean island sounds and vocal runs up and down the scales (even they laugh at the end).

 

5. Angelina – Uganda (2:51)

Luo Cultural Association

Rambling safari-like trek with interplaying percussionist pluckings running around in the background. High-pitched ululations sound like human mosquitoes!

 

6. D’Gary Jam – Madagascar, Uganda, Mali, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Cameroon (6:15)

D’Gary, Oumou Sangare, Richatd Bona, Baba Maal, Vusi Mahlasela, Afel Bocum, Anania Ngoglia, Toumani Diabate and Friends

I figured I’d find Toumani Diabate on this compilation… I was indeed actively searching for another great production from him. This one is like a nightmare, but intriguing. You can’t stop listening, even though everyone is going off in their own directions, doing their own things. Strangely, it all blends together in a scary, compelling way.

 

7. Throw Down Your Heart – Mali (5:07)

Haruna Sumake Trio and Bassekou Kouyate

This soft instrumental sounds more like an Ali Farka Toure/Toumani Diabate collaboration, the kind I was hoping to find. Also Jethro Tull tune toward the end.

 

8. Thula Mama – South Africa (3:59)

Vusi Mahlasela

A little bit of bebop in an African vibe with English subtitles.

 

9. Wairenziante – Uganda (2:55)

Muwewesu Xylophone Group

Having once or twice picked up a pair of mallets, I can appreciate the xylophone/marimba dexterity exhibited here.

 

10. Bunibalal – Mali (4:32)

Afel Bocum

A standout of a song. Soft male voice, Japanese/Arabic intro, Irish-tinged, totally African.

 

11. Zawose – Tanzania (3:20)

Chibite – The Zawose Family

How can people make such sounds? And offbeat, too? By true musicianship and artistry. This one’s a trip.

 

12. Ajula/Mbamba – The Gambia (4:31)

The Jatta Family

Quick tempo, probably what many Western minds would automatically associate to African music.

 

13. Pakugyenda Balebauo – Tanzania (2:58)

Warema Masiaga Cha Cha

E.T. went to Africa, instead. Neat question-answer format with kazoo/didgeridoo loose-stringed backup.

 

14. Jesus Is The Only Answer – Uganda (3:24)

Ateso Jazz Band

I love this one so much. So happy and uplifting. Upper register music and vocals. You’ll be smiling with this one!

 

15. Matitu – Tanzania (4:19)

Khalifan Matitu

Xylophone only, building up with background stuff sounding like a rainfall in a dense, tropical forest.

 

16. Mariam – Mali (3:51)

Djelimady Tounkara

I don’t know if I know what this song wants to be. It just is what it is — Ole’!

 

17. Djorolen – Mali (5:04)

Oumou Sangare

Delta meets Asio-Africa in rather soulful ballad. Love it.

 

18. Dunia Haina Wema/Thumb Fun – Tanzania (7:13)

Anania Ngoglia

Find myself not sure if I like it, yet enthusiastically starring it, just as well. Obvious mastery of the musical instruments, as well as the vocal chords echoing additional instruments. Sounds like you’re privileged to listen in on a jam going on.

 

———————————————————————–

 

This album started as an idea, when Bela Fleck heard the sounds of African music coming from the computer of his musicians on the tour bus. Enjoying what he heard, he decided to investigate the origins of his preferred instrument, the banjo, in West Africa, engaging Sony to underwrite the affair. After the tickets were booked, the field engineers reserved, the details and logistics arranged… Sony backed out.

 

So much had already been riding on this venture. With everything in place, Bela couldn’t let everyone down. Not only is he a folk hero in pioneering banjo music and styles, he turned folk hero in helping his fellow musicians continue with the job for this project. He hired his half-brother, Sascha Palladino, putting the venture to visuals in a documentary release now available through Netflix, or via purchase at New Video, a part of Cinedigm Entertainment:

 

(http://www.newvideo.com/)

DVD Cat: NNVG158461

DVD UPC: 7-67685-15846-3

SRP: $26.95

DIGITAL CAT: NNVG1839

 

The album won two 2009 Grammy® awards for Best Contemporary World Music Album and Best Pop Instrumental Album. Standout tracks on this African collaboration include numbers 10, 14 and 17, as well as number 18.

 

He’s now on tour in North America, with the following states and dates – For more details and to purchase tickets, visit his friendly website at: (http://belafleck.com/shows/)

 

INDIVIDUAL VENUES:

with Louisville Symphony Orchestra: KY – 04/30/2016

with The Flecktones: IL, MO, NC, NH, OH, PA, VT – June

with Abigail Washburn: AK – May; UT, CO – July

 

FESTIVALS:

Colorado:

Telluride Bluegrass Festival with The Flecktones – 06/16/2016

Telluride Bluegrass Festival All-Star Jam – 06/19/2016

Rocky Grass Festival with Abigail Washburn – 07/30/2016

District of Columbia:

American Acoustic with Chris Thile – 06/24/2016

North Carolina:

Brevard Music Festival – 06/28/2016

Wisconsin:

Blue Ox Music Festival with The Flecktones – 06/11/2016

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