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Throw Down Your Heart, Tales from the Acoustic Planet, Vol. 3: Africa Sessions

Throw Down Your Heart, Tales from the Acoustic Planet, Vol. 3: Africa Sessions

by Béla Fleck
Béla Fleck takes the banjo back to Africa on this ambitious new volume in his Acoustic Planet series. Released in conjunction with the documentary film directed by Fleck's brother Sascha Paladino, Throw Down Your Heart features Fleck recorded on the road in Mali, The Gambia, Uganda, Tanzania, and Senegal. As he unearths ancient banjo (locally referred to as


Béla Fleck takes the banjo back to Africa on this ambitious new volume in his Acoustic Planet series. Released in conjunction with the documentary film directed by Fleck's brother Sascha Paladino, Throw Down Your Heart features Fleck recorded on the road in Mali, The Gambia, Uganda, Tanzania, and Senegal. As he unearths ancient banjo (locally referred to as banza ) repertoire in rural Africa, he's joined by artists including South Africa's Vusi Mahlesela, Madagascan D'Gary, and Mali's Oumou Sangare and Afel Bocoum.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
On this third chapter in Béla Fleck's intermittent Tales from the Acoustic Planet series (that began in 1994 when he was with Warner Brothers), Throw Down Your Heart is actually a soundtrack for a film of the same name which he produced, about traveling through Africa, recording with many musicians from that continent as he searched for the origins of the banjo. As varied as Fleck's solo records and his albums with the Flecktones have been, this is easily his most varied and unusual offering. The itinerant superpicker African sojourns with film and sound crew in tow, to record with over 40 different groups and individuals in places like Uganda, Tanzania, Senegal, the Gambia, and Mali. These 18 tracks reflect the wide varieties of Fleck's experience to be sure, but far more importantly, the wildly diverse musical traditions there. Some tracks feature musicians fairly well-known internationally -- such as D'Gary, Baba Maal, Vusi Mahlasela, Toumani Diabaté, Bassekou Kouyate, Oumou Sangare (his host for the Malian leg of the trip, etc) -- in ensemble pieces as well as in intimate duets, and also with musicians largely unknown outside of their homelands. The latter grouping includes the amazing vocalist and kalimba player Anania, and a women's group from Nakisenyi who were the entourage's cooks, the Luo Cultural Association in Uganda, and the Muwewesu Xylophone Group, who play a gargantuan marimba that takes eight people to play as the townspeople join in on various flutes, fiddles, and percussion on a track called "Wairzenziante." It's not a cop-out to say that this is unlike any recording you've ever heard, and resembles less a Béla Fleck recording than one of amazing African music that he was fortunate enough to be able to produce and play on. The music here is simply enchanting, utterly delightful, and welcoming to the listener in all its guises. And it's consistent. No attempt was made by Fleck to create anything exotic. In fact, given that his greatest inspirations for making this record were the wonderful field recordings he'd heard of banjo music from Africa, he deserves credit for accomplishing his aim, and keeping his aim simple and folksy. The music on this set is transformative; it is not at all revisionist, nor a conscious attempt at some jive kind of colonial fusion. It is simply the record of one American musician meeting those of another continent for the express purpose of making music together, learning their tunes, and sharing the magic of creation and expression between them. As a recording, is quality, in sound and presentation, and the wonderfully detailed notes by Fleck annotating each track, are exemplary.

Product Details

Release Date:
Rounder / Umgd


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Béla Fleck   Primary Artist,Banjo
Baaba Maal   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Xavier   Percussion
Mali   Guest Appearance
Oumou Sangare   Vocals,Guest Appearance
D'Gary   Guitar
Afel Bocoum   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Guest Appearance
Sekouba Diabate   Djembe
Nabintou Diakite   Background Vocals
Jojo Kuo   Drums
Hamma Sankare   Vocals,Calabash
Djelimady Tounkara   Guitar
Eibur Stepney Manuel   Track Performer
Toumani Diabaté   Kora,Guest Appearance
Vusi Mahlasela   Guitar,Vocals,Guest Appearance
Sékou Bembya Diabaté   Djembe
Bassekou Kouyate   Guest Appearance,Ngoni
Richard Bona   Electric Bass,Vocals,Guest Appearance
Yoro Cisse   Njarka Fiddle
Casey Driessen   Fiddle
Zoumana Tereta   Sokou
Habib "Dia" Sangaré   Bolon
Alou Kouloubali   Shaker
Alamutoi   Track Performer
Obita Alfred   Track Performer
Ateso Jazz Band   Guest Appearance
Kaiga Ayubu   Track Performer
Obonyo B   Track Performer
Sekou Bah   Bass,Bass Guitar
Namuwaya Bayati   Track Performer
Fadhili Bbata   Percussion
Okoth Bosco   Track Performer
Warema Masiaga ChaCha   Percussion,Vocals,Bowed Lyre,Guest Appearance
Chibete The Zawose Family   Track Performer,Guest Appearance
Baisi David   Track Performer
Kizza David   Track Performer
Opio David   Track Performer
Muwaya Faizo   Track Performer
Ekisa Fatina   Track Performer
Kakaire Fatuma   Track Performer
Mutesi Fauza   Track Performer
Muwaya Faziri   Track Performer
Xavier Martial François   Percussion,Vocals,Hand Clapping
Oluka J.K.   Track Performer
Eyabu James   Track Performer
Angelic Jarju   Track Performer
Jatta Family   Track Performer,Guest Appearance
Frederick Jatta   Track Performer
Jil Ekona Jatta   Track Performer
Remi Jatta   Track Performer
Sega Jatta   Track Performer
Elungat Joseph   Track Performer
Obonyo Joseph   Track Performer
Ongiji Joseph   Track Performer
Ogwang K   Track Performer
Henry Kaage   Track Performer
Eriyabu Kabi   Track Performer
Andrea S. Kaluma   Track Performer
Salimu Kasadha   Track Performer
Badiru Kiranda   Track Performer
Eriyada Kisubi   Track Performer
Kuzaima Kisubi   Track Performer
Hasani Kitanda   Track Performer
Badstuter Lawl   Track Performer
Aryakitoi Levi   Track Performer
Luo Cultural Association   Track Performer,Guest Appearance
Aromo Macref   Track Performer
Sulai Maganda   Track Performer
Sowali Magumba   Track Performer
Atto Mangret   Track Performer
Akello Maria   Track Performer
Khalifan Matitu   Marimbas,Guest Appearance
Ojobi Michael   Track Performer
Kyakulaga Mosesi   Track Performer
Wagaluka Mukose   Track Performer
Manisuli Musubo   Track Performer
Aramanzani Musulo   Track Performer
Karimu Musulo   Track Performer
Musaiduma Mutesi   Track Performer
Birali Muwaya   Track Performer
Tibita Muwaya   Track Performer
Muwewesu Xylophone Group   Guest Appearance
Musulo Muzamiru   Track Performer
Muwewesi Muzamiru   Track Performer
Kasifa Nabirye   Track Performer
Safina Nabirye   Track Performer
Nakisenyi Women's Group   Guest Appearance
S Nampina   Track Performer
Masitula Namudola   Track Performer
Zilifa Namukonge   Track Performer
Kasifa Namukose   Track Performer
Medina Namunana   Track Performer
Adiya Nangobi   Track Performer
Anania Ngoglia   Vocals,Thumb Piano,Guest Appearance
Saadati Nkulega   Track Performer
Rashid Ntamu   Track Performer
Nahman Ojwee   Track Performer
Robert Kakaire   Track Performer
Ruth Akello   Track Performer
Omocha S   Track Performer
Dhikusoka Sabasityano   Track Performer
Abdoulie Saine   Track Performer
Haruna Samake Trio   Guest Appearance
Joseph Sambou   Track Performer
Naser Sambou   Track Performer
Phgusiteh Sambou   Track Performer
Madou Sanogo   Djembe
Waiswa Sdhuma   Track Performer
Therese Senghore   Track Performer
Souleymane Sidibe   Karakeb
Obello Simon   Track Performer
Nyelo Stephen   Track Performer
Olinga Stephen   Track Performer
Mutesi Sumaya   Track Performer
Sulaiman Talyaka   Track Performer
Ochira Michael Toco   Track Performer
Aisha Tungu   Track Performer
Vincent Komakech   Track Performer
Vincent Oloya   Track Performer
Bulaimu Wandera   Track Performer
Magidu Wansolo   Track Performer
Charles Were   Track Performer
Chiku Hukwe Zawose   Track Performer
Julie Hukwe Zawose   Track Performer
Lucas Ubi Zawose   Track Performer
Pendo Hukwe Zawose   Track Performer
Tabu Hukwe Zawose   Track Performer
Nabintou Diakite   Background Vocals
Martial Francois   Percussion
Habib Sangare   Bolon
Barou Diallo   Bass Guitar
Alou Coulibaly   Shaker

Technical Credits

Oumou Sangare   Arranger,Composer
David Bennett   Management
Afel Bocoum   Composer
Béla Fleck   Arranger,Composer,Liner Notes,Audio Production
Dave Sinko   Engineer
Djelimady Tounkara   Composer
Benogo Diakite   Contributor
Banning Eyre   Producer
Vusi Mahlasela   Composer
Richard Battaglia   Engineer
Damon Whittemore   Engineer
Yves Wernert   Engineer
Traditional   Composer
Chibite   Arranger
Robert Battaglia   Engineer
Ateso Jazz Band   Arranger
Wellington Bowler   Engineer
Warema Masiaga ChaCha   Composer
Jatta Family   Arranger
Luo Cultural Association   Arranger
Khalifan Matitu   Arranger
Muwewesu Xylophone Group   Composer
Nakisenyi Women's Group   Arranger
Anania Ngoglia   Composer
Nana Ofori Atta   Producer
Segun Oguntola   Producer
Sascha Paladino   Director,Producer
Paul Riehle   Cover Design
Haruna Samake   Contributor
Brian Siskind   Sound Effects
Nichole Smaglick   Producer
Ernest Radianasolo   Composer

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