By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Renowned musician Béla Fleck will bring his banjo back to Bucknell University's Weis Center on Saturday, Feb. 27, in a performance with some of Africa's most talented musicians. Tickets are $35.
"The Africa Project," which begins at 8 p.m., explores Fleck's most ambitious project to date, the rediscovery that the banjo originated in Africa.
"Local audiences who've seen Béla Fleck at the Weis Center know the magic of his performances," said Bill Boswell, executive director of the Weis Center. "This amazing show is a great introduction to his expansiveness and inclusiveness. In recent years he's spent time in Africa researching his instrument, meeting musicians there, learning different traditions, and combining it all in his own, inimitable way."
Fleck recently won Grammy Awards in two categories — Best Contemporary World Music Album and Best Pop Instrumental Performance — both for "Throw Down Your Heart," an album and a documentary that explores the African origins of the banjo through on-location collaborations with musicians in Uganda, Tanzania, the Gambi and Mali.
"Fleck brings this album to life on stage with some of the same musicians," said Boswell, "Malian ngoni master Bassekouye Kouyate and his band Ngoni Na, which I think translates as "the big ngoni," and thumb pianist Anania Ngoliga with guitarist John Kitime."
Throughout his three-decade career, Fleck has won 13 Grammy awards and has earned more diverse Grammy nominations than any other musician in history, including pop, country, bluegrass, jazz, classical, spoken-word, composition and arranging.
Tickets for this Weis Center series performance are available in person from the Campus Box Office in the Weis Center weekdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or at the Bucknell University Bookstore on the ground floor of the Elaine Langone Center weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Advance tickets also are available: call 570-577-1000 or visit www.bucknell.edu/Boxoffice. The box office in the Weis Center lobby opens one hour before performances.
This concert has been made possible in part by a generous contribution from Phyllis and Norman Rich. The 2009-10 season of Weis Center Events is generously supported by grants from the Bucknell University Association for the Arts and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional support for the series is provided by numerous and generous private donors, including members of the Weis Center Green Room Circle and Green Room Board.
The next event in the Weis Center series is The Aquila Theatre Company, long a favorite with Weis Center audiences, who will return on Friday, March 5, with a performance of Shakespeare's "As You Like It." Tickets are $20 for the March 5 event. Visit Weis Center for more information about the Weis Center series.
Contact: Division of Communications