Monday, December 22, 2008

Play that Funky Banjo!

Saturday, I dragged myself to The Philoctetes Center to see Bela Fleck and Lewis Porter in a roundtable called Living in the Musical Moment: Banjo Innovations. Although the week was pretty good, I had been suffering from female problems of a certain nature and I was pretty under the weather. Plus it had snowed on Friday and all the pretty snow had turned to slush, meaning I couldn't wear a cute outfit. Still I perservered.

I admit that when I think of the banjo several images come to mind. One Steve Martin in his early comedy days. Two, Hee-Haw and Deliverance. Yes, I'm that kind of East Coast liberal. But I'm trying to be open to things and new ideas which was the whole point of going to Philoctetes in the first place. And I'm glad that I went.

There is a reason why Bela Fleck is one of the most well known banjo players in the world. I had never head banjo playing like this. At times, he could make the instrument sound like a guitar, at times he could almost make it sing. I had no idea that the banjo was such an incredible instrument. He's won 8 Grammys and been nominated numerous times for his music. He's even played classical music on the banjo. Who would have thunk it. The banjo is not just for bluegrass anymore!

I also learned that the banjo was developed by the slaves in the South (yes, another thing that people have color have come up with that has been appropriated by the white man! Just kidding). Bela Fleck told a story about traveling in Africa for a documentary that he was working on and meeting musicians in West Africa who played a similar instrument. Which makes sense because most of the slave trade was from West Africa. I love hearing stories that trace the origin of something which is why I watch too many shows on the History Channel and the Food Network that trace the origins of certain foods.

Anyway, I was so impressed by the music that I ordered a Bela Fleck CD from Amazon. Of course he's also pretty good-looking too. But of course, just my luck, he's taken. Although he did compliment me on my mint chocolate chip cookies, courtesy of Nestle. I just can't a break.

To cheer myself after yet another romantic disappointment (don't ask), I put on one of my prettiest and oldest party dresses and headed out to The Dove Parlour for a Christmas do thrown by the Rebels of Romance. They were serving mulled wine that was so hot you could see the steam come off of it. Despite the snow, it was a wonderful party and we all received little goody bags.

Sunday, I dragged myself to the library to do some research and ended up coming home and watching all ten hours of season 4 of Monarch of the Glen, a series set in the Scottish highlands.

So despite a few bad apples, it was a pretty good weekend.

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