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Béla Fleck goes back to bluegrass, his first musical love

Béla Fleck
Alan Messer
Courtesy of the artist
Béla Fleck

Béla Fleck is arguably the greatest living banjo player in the world. He's also one of the most adventurous. In a career spanning nearly 50 years, he's experimented with jazz, folk, pop, rock and classical music, picking up 15 Grammys along the way, never afraid to try something new.

The "new" this time, is actually something old. Fleck cut his teeth, so to speak, playing bluegrass, his first musical love. For the first time in more than two decades, Fleck has returned to the genre with My Bluegrass Heart, an ambitious double album featuring some of the best players in the world, including Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas, alongside a new generation of bluegrass lovers like Chris Thile, Molly Tuttle, Sierra Hulland Billy Strings. We'll talk with Bela about what brought him back to the grass.

Copyright 2021 XPN

World Cafe senior producer Kimberly Junod has been a part of the World Cafe team since 2001, when she started as the show's first line producer. In 2011 Kimberly launched (and continues to helm) World Cafe's Sense of Place series that includes social media, broadcast and video elements to take listeners across the U.S. and abroad with an intimate look at local music scenes. She was thrilled to be part of the team that received the 2006 ASCAP Deems Taylor Radio Broadcast Award for excellence in music programming. In the time she has spent at World Cafe, Kimberly has produced and edited thousands of interviews and recorded several hundred bands for the program, as well as supervised the show's production staff. She has also taught sound to young women (at Girl's Rock Philly) and adults (as an "Ask an Engineer" at WYNC's Werk It! Women's Podcast Festival).