Monday, November 16, 2020

Bela and Abigail, part II

I really respect these two. It's partly because there are only so many good banjo pickers in the world. And Bela is unquestionably one of the best. Abigail has the distinction of bringing it to China; this is something I would call otherworldly. To Chinese, the banjo is definitely another world.

Bela once took some people to Africa to find the roots of the banjo. This is to me amazing. I am not sure what he found. But I can definitely say that they have both done something with the banjo that I always wanted to do.

Back when I could hear better, I'd play the banjo in all kinds of places. Once I took it to England for my brother's wedding. I also had two young boys, and suitcases for travel, so the London Tubes were really an experience. But someone noticed that it was a banjo and made a big deal out of it. You don't see banjos in London every day.

But back to Bela and Abigail: I am strongly considering writing a biography. It would be positive. I like them both though I have not met them. It's the kind of story the world needs to know.

When they had a son, people called him the Holy Banjo Emperor. They crowned him. They figured, if he had Bela for a dad and Abigail for a mom, he had to have the purest banjo genes on earth.

Poor kid. But, I'm sure he's doing well. They are great people and I'm sure they do what's best for him.

The heck of it is, Bela is a tourer. He sets up a rigid jampacked tour schedule and stays on the road most of the year. His Flecktones know motels in every major city I'm sure. I don't know when or if they come through this area (El Paso? Maybe more likely Denver or Phoenix?) - I'd like to hear them, but more important, to meet them, and ask about how this touring thing is working out. What about the coronavirus (Do bands still tour?)? What happens with the little boy?

I first came to like Bela through the Drive cd. He had played all kinds of innovative banjo music, and I respected him for that, but I didn't like hearing the banjo do all that stuff when what I loved about it was its pure, harmonic, full nature as applied to bluegrass. In Drive he showed he could do that too. He does more than tour; he produces cd's. I could tell you more about them if I could hear them better. But it's actually quite difficult writing about music. I'm not sure if I'm up to it.

It's a story, though, and the world needs to know it.