Bela Fleck & the Flecktones "Jingle All the Way" to Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts - December 12


Holiday music is transformed forever when 10-time Grammy Award-winning Béla Fleck & the Flecktones join with the exotic Tuvan throat singers and musicians, the Alash Ensemble, to deliver their dynamic hybrid of Tuvan, bluegrass, jazz and pop sounds of atypical, yet familiar, seasonal music at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts for two shows on Friday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $50, $45.

"Can you throat-sing "Jingle Bells?" asked banjo master Béla Fleck to Tuvan throat singer, Avan-ool Sam, a vocalist who can carry and harmonize two simultaneous musical lines. The short answer is an emphatic "Yes!!" And with the famously expert and innovative accompaniment of Fleck & the Flecktones, the group begins a musical adventure that produces an unforgettable collection of holiday carols and tunes.

Their recently released CD, "Jingle All the Way" is the result of the soulful harmony of this magical group of far-flung talented musicians who hail from New York City to Central Asia and beyond. Teasers of their music, which will be available for purchase at the Quick Center, can be heard at http://www.flecktones.com.

In the true spirit of the Flecktones, the music of their Holiday Tour morphs traditional music and standards into expressive, often highly composed soundscapes. Fleck, bassist Victor Wooten, FutureMan, acoustic percussion and drumitar - a self-developed instrument that is a fusion of drum and guitar - and Jeff Coffin, woodwinds meet in a major collaborative effort that features everything from the sparkling banjo-harmonic arrangements of "Christmas Time is Here" and a Tuvan-inspired, worldbeat performance of "What Child Is This/Dyngyladai" to fiery, virtuosic renditions of "Sleigh Ride" and "Danse of the Sugar Plum Fairies."

The Alash Ensemble, a quartet of master throat singers named for the Alash River which runs through their native region, a tiny republic in the heart of Central Asia, were trained in the traditional Tuvan music since childhood. While they never sacrifice the integrity of their heritage, they have been influenced by the western music of Jimi Hendrix and Sun Ra, among others, and as they experimented with new harmonies and song structures they became alert for contemporary ideas that mesh well with the sound and feel of traditional Tuvan music, ultimately developing an intriguing mixture of old and new.

Since their 2006 inaugural U.S. tour, they have returned to tour extensively, playing to enthusiastic audiences nationwide. The Washington Post described their music as "utterly stunning," quipping that after the performance, "audience members picked their jaws up off the floor."

Tickets are available online at fairfield.edu/quick or by calling the Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website at fairfield.edu/quick.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 20, 2008

Vol. 41, No. 133