Bela Fleck is an American banjo virtuoso who followed a dream. Though many Americans assume that the roots of the banjo are American. Bela knew and wanted to know more about the instruments long played by West Africans, the true antecedents of the familiar American instrument. The result of Bela’s explorations, the documentary film Throw Down Your Heart. The film captures the human interest aspects of Bela’s quest to trace the roots of his beloved banjo throughout Uganda, Tanzania, The Gambia, and Mali.
Eastside Food Co-op is offering a unique opportunity for Twin Citians to view and discuss the 2008 film. The event is Thursday, February 17, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at EFC, 2551 Central Avenue Northeast, one block North of Lowry in Northeast Minneapolis
The website for Argot Pictures, producer of Throw Down Your Heart, describes the history of the banjo in this country:
When slave traders captured West Africans, many of the slaves brought that instrument, and the knowledge of how to make it, to the United States. On plantations in the American South, slaves were not allowed to play drums, but they were allowed to play the banjo. Soon, whites started copying it, and the banjo evolved into the instrument we know today.”
Throughout his travels Bela works with musicians and local individuals and families. His experiences are captured on the documentary, produced in 2008 and viewed since then throughout this country. Again quoting the website:
As Bela travels across Africa, he forges both musical and personal connections. Using his banjo, he transcends barriers of language and culture, finding common ground with musicians from very different background and creating some of the most meaningful music of his career.”
You can catch a glimmer and the power of the film by watching the trailer for Throw Down Your Heart on the web. Come to EFC early for a musical travelogue, a chance to meet and talk with neighbors, and to enjoy treats supplied by EFC. The evening is free and open to the public. No reservations required