Bela Fleck Interview
Bela Fleck and The Flecktones offer music lovers a subtle change — a
CD filled with instrumental music only, no vocals.
Titled "UFO Tofu," it's been released by Warner Bros. Records.
Bela Fleck and The Flecktones make a stop in Syracuse on May 6, at Symphony
We talked to Bela Fleck about his music.
Q. The last time we heard anything about the banjo was
probably "The Dueling Banjos."
A. That's true. It's been awhile.
Q. Do you find a growing interest in banjo music?
A. I think a lot of people like banjo music. They just don't get to hear it
very often. They would like traditional banjo music if they heard it more
often, but it's not part of the normal thing. This band is probably the most
exposure the banjo has had in awhile. So, a lot of people are remembering
how much they like the instrument.
Q. You were up for a Grammy this year for Best Instrumental.
Did you win?
A. No, I haven't won, but I've had seven nominations now. So, it's a little
bit of a tease, but it's a great thing to be nominated.
Q. A name that pops up in your bio. is Tony Trischka. Isn't
he from Syracuse?
A. He was my teacher. He's my very good friend, and he's from up there. He's
gonna be opening the show that we're doing up there, so that's gonna be a real
special reunion for us.
Q. You've traveled all over the world. You've been to India,
Morocco, and Nepal. What do you learn from traveling to places like that?
A. Well, I always like to get musical input. When I go there, I buy CD's. I
go hear musicians. Sometimes I'm able to get together with musicians and learn
things from them. I've always tried to do that when I traveled.
Q. This group used to be a quartet. Now you're a trio.
Does that mean that one person has to work harder now, or do you all work
A. We all work harder. It's proven to be a great challenge and a great thing
for our musicianship.
Q. What happens to you and the group after this tour?
A. We just finished an album, about 2 weeks ago. It's going to be coming out
in August. It features the trio, and also has a couple of special guests — Bruce
Hornsby played some keyboards for us. Branford Marsalis played some saxophones.
So, we'll be setting up getting ready for that. We'll probably be going to
Europe in July. That's pretty much what's going to be happening. The other
thing is I just did music for "The Beverly Hillbillies" movie. I got to actually
play the Beverly Hillbillies theme for them which was cool, since that was
the first thing I ever heard on a banjo. So, now I got to do it in a main
way. It's gonna be a pretty good movie, coming out on Thanksgiving.
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