Bela Fleck: The Africa Project


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