The Rapidian

King and Queen of Banjo, Béla Fleck, Abigail Washburn have first Grand Rapids' appearance together at St. Cecilia Music Center

St. Cecilia Music Center will bring husband and wife duo Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn to Royce Auditorium on Friday, February 23, 2018. This will be the duo’s first appearance together in Grand Rapids.
Underwriting support from:

Tickets

Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn tickets are $45 and $50 and can be purchased by calling St. Cecilia Music Center at 616-459-2224 or visiting the box office at 24 Ransom Ave. NE. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.scmc-online.org.  A post-concert party with a cash bar will be offered to all ticket-holders   

SINGLE TICKETS

Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn – February 23, 2018

A section $50

B section $45

Asleep at the Wheel – April 12, 2018

A section $40

B section $35

Rhiannon Giddens – May 17, 2018

A section $45

B section $40

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Single tickets 

Mozart, Weber and Brahms - April 19, 2018

A section $43

B section $38

Jazz Series Single tickets 

Gregory Porter – February 22, 2018 

A section $45 

B section $40

Kurt Elling – March 22, 2018

A section $45 

B section $40

 

Special event

John Proulx CD Release Concert and Party – February 25, 2018

A section $30 (includes a copy of new CD)

B section $20

Ticket prices: All ticket prices include service fees and are the same no matter the purchase point. No additional fees are charged. All concerts start at 7:30pm. All concerts include a post-concert party for concert ticket holders

Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn

Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn /Courtesy of Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn

Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn

Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn /Courtesy of Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn

Béla Fleck is a fifteen-time Grammy Award winner who has taken the instrument across multiple genres, and Abigail Washburn is a singer-songwriter and clawhammer banjo player who re-radicalized it by combining it with Far East culture and sounds. Echo in the Valley is the follow up to Fleck and Washburn’s acclaimed, self-titled debut that earned the 2016 Grammy for Best Folk Album.  “This time around, the mission was to take our double banjo combination of three finger and clawhammer styles to the next level and find things to do together that we had not done before, says Fleck.  “We’re expressing different emotions through past techniques and going to deeper places.

Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn tickets are $45 and $50 and can be purchased by calling St. Cecilia Music Center at 616-459-2224 or visiting the box office at 24 Ransom Ave. NE. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.scmc-online.org.  A post-concert party with a cash bar will be offered to all ticket-holders.    

The Acoustic Café Series 

The Acoustic Café Series, in partnership with the syndicated radio show of the same name, will round out the season with banjo gurus and singers Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn; the band Asleep at the Wheel, and singer/songwriter, banjo and fiddler Rhiannon Giddens co-founder of the Grammy award-winning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops.

Cathy Holbrook states, “Since its inception in the 2015-16 season the Acoustic Café Folk Series has expanded its offerings and brought some of today’s up and coming artists, as well as some of the veterans of the singer/songwriter genre.

SCMC formed a partnership three years ago with the syndicated radio show Acoustic Café and its host Rob Reinhart. The Ann Arbor based radio program is syndicated to over 100 commercial and non-commercial stations throughout the country and airs locally in Grand Rapids on WYCE on Friday mornings. The series at SCMC features touring singer/songwriter folk/Americana musicians in concert and also presents the opportunity for a live taping with the artists and Rob Reinhart while visiting SCMC.

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn Bio

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, “the king and queen of the banjo” (Paste Magazine), have a musical partnership like no other. Béla Fleck is a fifteen-time Grammy Award winner who has taken the instrument across multiple genres, and Abigail Washburn is a singer-songwriter and claw hammer banjo player who re-radicalized it by combining it with Far East culture and sounds.

Fleck has the virtuosic, jazz-to-classical ingenuity of an iconic instrumentalist and composer with bluegrass roots. His collaborations range from his ground-breaking standard-setting ensemble Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, to a staggeringly broad array of musical experiments. From writing concertos for full symphony orchestra, exploring the banjo’s African roots, to jazz duos with Chick Corea, many tout that Béla Fleck is the world’s premier banjo player.

Washburn has the earthy sophistication of a postmodern, old-time singer-songwriter who has drawn critical acclaim for her solo albums. With one eye on using the banjo to showcase Americas rich heritage and the other pulling the noble instrument from its most familiar arena into new and unique realms, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn’s second album “Echo in the Valley” is simultaneously familiar and wildly innovative. “Some of the most interesting things in the world come together in strange and unique ways and show our diversity,” reflects Fleck. “The banjo is just one of those things.  It’s a great example of how the world can combine things and create surprising hybrids,” a reference to the ancestral African roots of the banjo combining with Scotch-Irish music in Appalachia.

The results are fascinating, especially considering their strict rules for recording:  all sounds must be created by the two of them, the only instruments used are banjos (they have seven between them, ranging from a ukulele to an upright bass banjo), and they must be able to perform every recorded song live.

Fleck and Washburn met at a square dance and began playing music together a dozen years ago, beginning with the Sparrow Quartet.  They married shortly thereafter and became parents to a cute little tot.  They’ve been touring the globe as a duo for years, almost nonstop, but for each other’s performances with various other musical iterations:  Béla with the likes of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Chick Corea and Chris Thile, among many others, and Abigail with Wu Fei (a master of the ancient 21-string Chinese zither), The Wu-Force and Uncle Earl. 

As the story goes, Béla was struck by the sound of Mr. Earl Scruggs’ banjo when hearing the Beverly Hillbillies theme song.  He got hold of a banjo, took his musical namesakes (Béla for Bartok, Anton for Weburn, Leos for Yanecek) to heart, and has since continuously broken new musical ground with his instrument.  Fleck has the distinction of being nominated in more categories than any other instrumentalist in Grammy history, and has brought his banjo through scorching hot newgrass, traditional bluegrass, otherworldly funk, modern jazz, African originals, transatlantic Celtic, and classical realms, with two self-composed banjo concertos to his name (The Impostor and Juno Concerto), with a third one in the works. 

Abigail was similarly jolted into life as a banjoist, but for her it was hearing Doc Watson perform “Shady Grove.” “I was proud to discover that I came from a country where you can hear that ancient sound - from Africa, from Scotland, from Ireland – all mixed up in this beautiful new sound, with those ancient tones in it,” She reflects.  “The ancient sounds of our culture remind us who we are, and in them, we see a constellation of who we are becoming.”

Washburn has imbued this philosophy in all aspects of her work, from the string band Uncle Earl to her acclaimed solo albums, ‘Song of the Traveling Daughter’ and ‘City of Refuge’, and her semi-autobiographical theatrical work, ‘Post-American Girl’, as well as in her musical ambassadorship with China, a country with which she has a long, profound history.  Abigail is deftly following in the footsteps of the founding mothers of folk and has become a prominent voice of old-time in our time while bringing to light those ancient sounds of American and Far East cultures in new and exciting ways. 

Tickets to SCMC Concerts – Season 2017 / 2018

Tickets to the concerts in 2018 within the Jazz Series, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Series, Acoustic Cafe Folk Series, and John Proulx CD Release Party are available by calling 616-459-2224 or visiting St. Cecilia Music Center at 24 Ransom NE, Grand Rapids, 49503. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.scmc-online.org. For each concert, a post-concert party is open to all ticket-holders giving the audience the opportunity to meet the artists and obtain signed CDs of their releases.  There are also pre-concert receptions for the CMS of Lincoln Center concerts and the Jazz Series concerts with wine and hors d'oeuvres for $15 per person.

St. Cecilia Music Center’s mission is to promote the study, appreciation and performance of music in order to enrich the lives of West Michigan residents. The Center fulfills this mission by presenting visiting world-class artists in concert, providing music education for all ages through our School of Music and preserving a historic building for musical activities and community events

 

 

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.

Browse