If you’ve never watched Béla Fleck’s 2008 documentary film, Throw Down Your Heart, there is an excellent opportunity tonight (December 11), when it being offered as a free live stream on both Facebook and YouTube. Not only is it offered in its entirely at no charge, the screening with also include an introduction from Béla, and concludes with a Q&A with he and his brother, Sascha Paladino, who directed the film.
Throw Down Your Heart chronicles Fleck’s journey of discovery in western Africa, which he undertook to find out more about the history of the banjo, and to meet and play music with today’s artists who perform with African instruments with the same lineage. He spent several weeks visiting sites in a number of nations, and Sascha filmed most of the encounters with local musicians. Even when language was a barrier, music – and banjo playing – served as a willing translator.
Tonight’s free screening is in celebration of Béla having received a Grammy Nomination for Best Historical Album for this year’s comprehensive project, Throw Down Your Heart: The Complete Africa Sessions. It includes the film on DVD, the audio CD Tales From the Acoustic Planet, Vol. 3, and an outtakes CD, Throw Down Your Heart: Africa Sessions Part 2, Unreleased Tracks. Also in the set is a new album with Fleck and kora master Toumani Diabaté called The Ripple Effect.
Here’s a look at the documentary trailer.