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Hear Béla Fleck And Edmar Castañeda's Stunning Collaboration In A Cathedral


Béla Fleck, the world's preeminent banjo player, and Edmar Castañeda, a peerless master of the Colombian harp, share more than a penchant to pluck magic out of strings. Both musicians are keen listeners with lightning reflexes and the ability to pounce on any digression. They're both alchemists of style, unbound by the rules of genre. And each has a way of making virtuosity feel generous, disarming any look-at-me heroics with a spirit of welcome.

They had never played together before this performance at the 2019 Big Ears Festival. The concert, at Saint John's Cathedral in Knoxville, Tenn., features an equal portion of compositions by Fleck and Castañeda, as well as a flamenco-charged classic by Brazilian composer Jacob do Bandolim. The notes rain in cascades, or flow like rivulets, but always in service of bright communion.

Set List:

  • No Fear (Edmar Castañeda)
  • Throw Down Your Heart (Béla Fleck)
  • For Jaco (Edmar Castañeda)
  • Bamako (Béla Fleck)
  • Santa Morena (Jacob do Bandolim)
  • The Message* (Béla Fleck)
  • Nashville* (Béla Fleck and Toumani Diabaté)

*Radio only


Producers: Sarah Geledi, Colin Marshall; Senior Producer: Katie Simon; Host: Christian McBride; Concert Video Director: Colin Marshall; Videographers: Tsering Bista, Annabel Edwards, Nickolai Hammer; Editor: Jeremiah Rhodes; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Music Engineer: Mike Sosville; Tech Director: David Tallacksen; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann and Gabrielle Armand; Senior Director of NPR Music: Lauren Onkey. Funded in Part By: The Argus Fund, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Fund, The National Endowment for the Arts, Wyncote Foundation

A veteran jazz critic and award-winning author, and a regular contributor to NPR Music.