Béla Fleck

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The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival celebrates its 28th year from June 3-12, 2011, with the sounds of jazz, blues, funk and Latin music in the idyllic setting of Vermont. For 10 days, over 50,000 people enjoy a unique mix of concerts, dances, jams, street parties, cruises on Lake Champlain, meet the artist sessions and workshops.

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2011 Headliners include:

Herbie Hancock

Béla Fleck and the Original Flecktones

I first became immersed into African music from the influence of an amazing musician, friend, and teacher Matt Wasowski currently with Mohammed Alidu and the Bizung Family, and Zivanai Masango and Pachedu and formerly with Jaka and Jyemo amongst other groups. Matt who plays mostly guitar, also dabbles and even builds with his students many African instruments such as the Mbira or thumb piano and Marimbas.

As I make my annual pilgrimage to my 6th Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, I cannot help but see the nostalgia in the place that is so familiar for many reasons. It starts with the car ride, where I feel like I can drive forever because I cannot wait to pass those Bonnaroo toll booths that symbolize a sense of accomplishment and enlightenment that is about to take place. The way I see it, I now have 96 hours of church to fill my soul until next year.

In December of 2004 I saw Béla Fleck & the Flecktones at the Water Street Music Hall in Rochester.  At that show Béla made a mention of his plans which at that time included traveling to Africa to research the roots of the banjo.  This intrigued me as I had just been to Morocco and seen banjos being played out in the square, a sight I was not expecting, and as I also have a large amount of family in Africa.

Thanks for waiting to read about the best part of Wakarusa! The best three shows of the festival lay here in the second half of the review. In this section, I want to tell you which bands earned my top three ribbons of the festival.  Please keep in mind that I could not possibly see all of the bands that played, although I did try to see most.

Bela Fleck & the Flecktones

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