Letters

Letters 08-29-2016

Religious Bigotry President Obama has been roundly criticized for his apparent unwillingness to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” His critics seem to suggest that through the mere use of that terminology, the defeat of ISIS would be assured...

TC DDA: Focus On Your Mission What on earth is the Traverse City DDA thinking? Purchasing land around (not within) its TIF boundaries and then offering it at a discount to developers? That is not its mission. Sadly enough, it is already falling down on the job regarding what is its mission. Crosswalks are deteriorating all around downtown, trees aren’t trimmed, sidewalks are uneven. Why can’t the DDA do a better job of maintaining what it already has? And still no public restrooms downtown, despite all the tax dollars captured since 1997. What a joke...

European-Americans Are Boring “20 Fascinating People” in northern Michigan -- and every single one is European-American? Sorry, but this is journalistically incorrect. It’s easy for editors to assign and reporters to write stories about people who are already within their personal and professional networks. It’s harder to dig up stuff about people you don’t know and have never met. Harder is better...

Be Aware Of Lawsuit While most non-Indians were sleep walking, local Odawa leaders filed a lawsuit seeking to potentially have most of Emmet County and part of Charlevoix County declared within their reservation and thus under their jurisdiction. This assertion of jurisdiction is embedded in their recently constructed constitution as documentation of their intent...

More Parking Headaches I have another comment to make about downtown TC parking following Pat Sullivan’s recent article. My hubby and I parked in a handicap spot (with a meter) behind Mackinaw Brew Pub for lunch. The handicap spot happens to be 8-10 spaces away from the payment center. Now isn’t that interesting...

Demand Change At Women’s Resource Center Change is needed for the Women’s Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area (WRCGT). As Patrick Sullivan pointed out in his article, former employees and supporters don’t like the direction WRCGT has taken. As former employees, we are downright terrified at the direction Juliette Schultz and Ralph Soffredine have led the organization...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Super Strings
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Super Strings

Kristi Kates - June 23rd, 2014  

BÉLA FLECK AND BROOKLYN RIDER

The banjo-driven theme song from the TV series “The Beverly Hillbillies” inspired a young Béla Fleck to pick up the instrument in New York City decades ago.

Now, the living banjo legend – a frequent contemporary, classical, and pop collaborator – is stringing a new sound together with Brooklyn Rider, a string quartet that has been described as “classical musicians performing with the energy of young rock stars.”

PARALLEL SOUNDS

Both Fleck, a 14-time Grammy award winner, and Brooklyn Rider, a public radio favorite, are known for their eclectic musical pairings. Fleck has crafted music with his wife, fellow banjo player Abigail Washburn, as well as Chick Corea, the Dave Matthews Band, bassist Edgar Meyer, and Indian tabla player Zakir Hussain.

Brooklyn Rider – with Johnny Gandelsman on violin, Colin Jacobsen on violin, Nicholas Cords on viola, and Eric Jacobsen on cello – aren’t far behind.

They’ve already worked with Philip Glass, Iranian kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor, singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega, and Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man.

Together, the banjo “quintet” is taking their program of original music by Fleck and other Brooklyn Rider favorites to more than 20 cities in North America this year.

Fleck is technically the elder statesman of the group, but after an early meeting, felt “lucky” that the quartet agreed to work with him.

“They are very warm, sweet, and fun people to spend time with,” Fleck said. “And I saw that they have a top-notch work ethic.”

COOL COLLABORATION

Early on, Fleck brought some rough song ideas to Brooklyn Rider.

“Honestly, they made everything I had prepared sound so good, that it didn’t help make the decision of which [songs] to develop any easier!” he said.

Even though both artists have solid back catalogs to work with – as well as their joint album, 2013’s standout “The Imposter” – Fleck said he’s a fan of putting together a different set for each live collaboration.

“It takes more work, but it gives every group a very strong identity, even beyond the actual instruments in the ensembles,” he said.

KINDRED SETTING

Using “Night Flight Over Water” from “The Imposter” as a starting point, Fleck wrote another 20-minute long piece, and crafted arrangements of a couple of his older works to sprinkle in.

“I also learned several of Brooklyn Rider’s excellent pieces, and looked for a banjo role in those,” he said. “By the end, we had built a repertoire that we are very proud of.”

Fleck’s attention to detail is likely to be appreciated during the pairing’s July 1 Interlochen show.

“I have always loved coming to Interlochen to play,” he said. “It will be fun to play in the beautiful setting near the lake. And for a pretty big place, the venue has an intimacy that is very special.”

The fact that music is actually being taught there, he added, brings in another element that “feels great” to musicians.

“I am honestly thrilled that the admittedly offbeat music that I do can have a home in Interlochen,” Fleck said.

Béla Fleck and Brooklyn Rider will be in concert on July 1 at 8pm in the Kresge Auditorium, Interlochen Center for the Arts. For tickets and more, visit tickets.interlochen.org.

 
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