Canadian banjo master Jayme Stone, intent on finding lost tendrils of the banjo's African origins, went on an extended sojourn to Mali. After numerous encounters with musicians along the way, Stone collaborated with Malian griot singer and kora ace Mansa Sissoko on Africa to Appalachia, an extraordinary reconnection of extended musical roots twisted back around to create new sounds. The percussive natures of both the kora and banjo are unveiled as they jointly conjure rhythms originating from Bamako and deep in the Smokies. The insinuating lilt of the kora and Sissoko's serpentine vocals explore Malian melodies with a complex sense of serenity at their core, with Stone's banjo and guests like bluegrass fiddler Casey Driessen adding fresh textures and contexts. A more frenetic rush colors Appalachian standards "June Apple" and "Chinquapin Hunting," even with their echoes of Africa. Opener Spaghetti Western String Company will offer its own twists on folk traditions.
Thu., Sept. 18, 7 p.m., 2008