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Author: Jill Kimball

Béla Fleck to present Macky concert with Brooklyn Rider

The genre-defying banjoist and adventurous quartet team up for a rollicking evening.

If there’s one word that sums up what Béla Fleck and Brooklyn Rider have in common, it’s eclectic.

Fleck, without question the most famous banjoist in the world, and Brooklyn Rider, a quartet that’s lately taken the new-music world by storm, have both dabbled in a dizzying array of genres.

The 16-time Grammy-winning Fleck plays Bach trios with Yo-Yo Ma, performs at the most prestigious folk, jazz and bluegrass festivals in the world, and once helped Dave Matthews Band knock the “Titanic” soundtrack off the top of the Billboard charts. Brooklyn Rider, meanwhile, has teamed up with indie singer-songwriters (Kate Bush, Björk, Rufus Wainwright), classical mainstays (John Adams, Anne Sofie von Otter) and pop/rock hitmakers (Sting, Elvis Costello)—and that was just in 2016.

It’s clear that all five musicians, performing Jan. 20 on CU Presents’ Artist Series, prefer to flirt with just about everything rather than define themselves by any one sound.

“A true musical polymath, Béla has garnered Grammy nominations in nine categories, managing to weave his humble instrument convincingly into every type of musical fabric,” says The Washington Post. “Brooklyn Rider is a charismatic string quartet that also delights in mashups of every description.”

True to form, the quintet’s Boulder concert promises to be a fascinating cross-pollination of musical ideas, boasting everything from avant-garde Americana to Irish and South American folk to Romanian Gypsy music. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Béla Fleck concert without some foot-stomping, virtuosic banjo solos.

“Together they have assembled a tight ensemble and invigorating show, each musician revealing their skills and passion for a new, untried musical venture,” proclaims The Birmingham News. “It formed a unique, eminently listenable bond.”