Airs Thursday, May 2 at 8:00 p.m. Part One of Two: Banjoist Bela Fleck performs alongside exceptional African musicians such as Toumani Diabate, Vusi Mahlasela, D'Gary, Anania Ngoliga and others. Recorded at the Trustees Theater during the Savannah Music Festival. Though the banjo is commonly associated with American musical styles such as country, folk and bluegrass, the stringed instrument was actually adapted from several African musicians before it developed into the modern banjo during the 20th century. One of the most renowned banjoists in the world today is Bela Fleck, who in early 2005, embarked on a trip to Africa in which he collaborated musically with some of the top musicians there. Four years later he assembled some of his favorite musicians from across the African continent and brought them over for a short tour in the United States. During this two-hour program we listen to performances by Toumani Diabate, Vusi Mahlasela, D'Gary, and Anania Ngoliga with their musical partners, and with Bela Fleck and fiddler Casey Driessen.
Airs Tuesday, April 30 at 9 p.m. A powerhouse behind the drum kit, John Hollenbeck is also becoming one of the great composer-bandleaders of the age. After last year's large ensemble show, he returns to Newport with his unusual small group, the Claudia Quintet (and a sixth member on piano). The band's latest release What Is The Beautiful? sets poems by Kenneth Patchen to music; much like the album, vocalists Kurt Elling and Theo Bleckmann stand and deliver on stage.
Airs Monday, April 29 at 11 a.m. This week conductor Manfred Honeck is joined on stage by baritone Thomas Hampson and soprano Chen Reiss for Antonin Dvorak’s Biblical Songs and Johannes Brahms’ A German Requiem.