International music program at library with Paul and Carla Roberts

Paul and Carla Roberts perform a special program of music from around the world, at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 16, at the Ruby Sisson Library.

The Roberts have been a professional performing duo for 35 years. They will demonstrate the Indian sitar, Chinese cheng, Turkish saz, Irish bodhran, Native American flute, Middle Eastern dumbek, Japanese shakuhachi, banjos, recorder flutes, mandolins and other instruments from their exotic collection.

This library program is part of an Elation Center for the Arts fund-raising campaign to send a professional-quality, American-made banjo to Janna Kim in Uzbekistan. Kim, a 24-year-old professional singer, is the only banjo player in Uzbekistan, a country in Central Asian. Kim taught herself how to play banjo over the Internet using a makeshift instrument. ECA is supporting Kim’s goal of bringing the happy sounds of the banjo to a part of the world that is relatively unfamiliar with anything having to do with American folk music.

The local nonprofit has already raised most of the funds necessary to purchase the instrument. Most of the funds have so far been contributed from banjo players in the U.S., Belgium, Japan, France, Russia, Uzbekistan and the UK.

Mike Johnston, a banjo-playing priest in the Isle of Wight, U.K. said, “Kim is clearly a talented young musician who is promoting something unusual in her land. I can’t really think of a better music-related cause to support.” An American banjo player drew a parallel between the sounds of the banjo and what he referred to as “the sounds of freedom.”

Joining this collaboration of philanthropic banjoists is Tom Nechville, a banjo maker; Jack Clift, an American composer and music producer; Pat Toomay, a professional football player and author; and Mimi Roberts, director of media projects with New Mexico Dept. of Cultural Affairs.

The Roberts hope that donations from the library program will complete the ECA fund-raising campaign to purchase a banjo for a gifted musician half way around the world.

“When you make something possible for other people, it feels good,” said Carla Roberts.

Come hear the Roberts’ global sounds and see their rare instruments — works of art unto themselves. Donations are tax-deductible. For more information, call 731-3117.


Photo courtesy Jeff Laydon
Carla Roberts, and Paul Roberts, of Elation Center for the Arts will perform a special program of music from around the world, at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 16, at the Ruby Sisson Library.