Collection of Previously Unreleased Recordings from Béla Fleck and Virtuoso Kora Player Toumani Diabaté; Pressed on 180g Vinyl 2LP with Lacquers Cut by Bernie Grundman
The Ripple Effect is a follow-up to the award-winning, critically acclaimed Throw Down Your Heart sessions, recorded during Béla Fleck's 2009 tour. Throw Down Your Heart was produced and recorded by the world-renowned banjoist, documenting his journey across Africa to research the origins of the banjo. The Ripple Effect set offers previously unreleased recordings from Fleck and virtuoso kora player Toumani Diabaté.
Simply put, the Throw Down Your Heart project was a sensation when it was released in 2009. There were, of course, raves from the press – "traditional African music turns out to suit him beautifully" pronounced The New York Times – but fellow musicians were equally awed. "Béla Fleck's amazing film Throw Down Your Heart makes me want to go to Africa," said acclaimed jazz pianist Chick Corea. "The genuine warmth, affinity, respect and love between Béla and the amazing African musicians he met are beautifully captured." Banjo player and actor Steve Martin added, "With Throw Down Your Heart, Béla Fleck has contributed significantly to the history of the banjo, as well as inventing a style of music never before played on this great instrument."
A virtuoso on his instrument, Fleck has over the last four decades taken the banjo far afield from its traditional roles in bluegrass and old-timey music, embracing an extraordinarily broad range of musical styles. Not only has he won 15 Grammys, but he did so across nine different categories, earning honors in the Country, Pop, Jazz, Instrumental, Classical, and World Music fields through his work with the fusion group Béla Fleck and the Flecktones; double bassist and composer Edgar Meyer; his wife, Abigail Washburn, and others.
The original "Dueling Banjos," recorded by Eric Weissberg and popularized by the film Deliverance, was one of the things that first attracted Fleck to the banjo, so there's a sense of coming full circle with that performance. But then, the whole Throw Down Your Heart project was, in a sense, about scratching an itch Fleck had long felt regarding the African roots of his instrument. "I knew that my beloved instrument had originally come from West Africa," he writes. "And from time to time I found tantalizing tidbits of African acoustic music that gave me the confidence to know that there was a phenomenal amount of incredible stuff going on under the radar."
What brought that general interest into focus was when Flecktone saxophonist Jeff Coffin played Fleck a recording by the great Malian singer Oumou Sangare. "I was literally stunned," Fleck recalled. "I'd had this reaction only a few times – when music was so compelling that everything had to stop while I listened. Earl Scruggs' banjo did it to me. Chick Corea's music did it to me. And so did this." In a bit of kismet, it turned out that Sangare was managed by an old friend from Fleck's early bluegrass days. A meeting was arranged, some jamming was done, and Sangare invited Fleck to visit Bamako, Mali, and play with her and some of her friends. The seed was planted. Within months, Fleck and Paladino had worked out a three-nation itinerary, one that would rely on friendship and happenstance to experience the music and culture of Africa.
It was, Fleck writes, "a nonstop set of intense, powerful and joyful musical interactions. Every day for five weeks, I was meeting musicians, and filming pieces with them in their homes, other unconventional locations, and even on rare occasions – recording studios. We recorded/filmed over 30 pieces so it came out to something like a tune per day while we were there."
This collection of previously unreleased recordings from Béla Fleck and Toumani Diabaté is pressed on 180g vinyl 2LP with lacquers cut by Bernie Grundman!
• 180-gram vinyl 2LP set from Craft Recordings
• Previously unreleased recordings from world-renowned banjoist Béla Fleck and virtuoso kora player Toumani Diabaté
• A follow up to the critically acclaimed Throw Down Your Heart sessions, recorded during the duo's 2009 tour
• Lacquers cut by Bernie Grundman