Sunday, November 8, 2009

Banjo Africa!

Throw Down Your Heart (2008) - Paladino
The film played at Margaret Mead Film Fest last year and had a week short theatrical run in the city this Spring. I missed both and was kicking myself silly. But it's finally out on DVD.
If Deliverance has ruined your banjo music experience forever, no worries, watching Sascha Paladino's doc chronicling American banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck's trip to Africa in search of where the famed Southern American instrument originated from is finally gonna wash away the turd and replace it with intimacy and joy.

Fleck, looking like a fuzzy Tom Sizemore, is a kindred spirit and an amazing banjo player. Here he is joined by musicians first from Uganda, Tanzania then Gambia and Mali as he treks from Eastern Africa to West, jamming with local musicians. Paladino captures some vivid footage(and not in the third world poverty porn way) and the music is just fantastic- here you can hear the roots of Calypso, Flamenco, Middle Eastern and even rap.

The doc doesn't really gets stuck in the narrative. The main attraction here obviously is music. And its loose ending is totally acceptable. The Soundtrack to the film is fantastic if anyone's interested.

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