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Special musical program at the library with Paul and Carla Roberts, July 16
Friday, November 12, 2010

Paul and Carla Roberts present a special musical program at the Ruby Sisson Library at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 16.

The Roberts will demonstrate rare and exotic musical instruments from around the world: Indian sitar, Chinese cheng, Turkish saz, Irish bodhran, Native American flute, Middle Eastern dumbek, Japanese shakuhachi, American banjos - and a wonderful family of wooden flutes known as recorders.

The recorder is a woodwind from a family of whistle-like instruments popular in medieval times. During the recorder’s heyday, it was traditionally associated with birds, shepherds, amorous scenes, marriages, funerals and miraculous events. Images of recorders can be found in literature and artwork associated with all these. Purcell, Bach, Telemann and Vivaldi used the recorder to suggest shepherds and birds in their music, a theme that continued in 20th century music.

The recorder was revived in the 20th century, partly in the pursuit of historically informed performance of early music, but also because of its suitability as a simple instrument for teaching music and its appeal to amateur players. Today, it is often thought of as a child’s instrument, but there are many professional players –Carla Roberts among them — who demonstrate the instrument’s full solo range. The sound of the recorder is remarkably clear and sweet.

The musical program at the library, with the Roberts, is in support of Janna Kim, a musician whose goal is to bring the happy sounds of the American banjo to her country, Uzbekistan. A country in Central Asia, Uzbekistan is still unfamiliar with the American banjo and the musical genres that have grown up around it in the U.S.

Kim is a vivacious 24-year-old professional singer who taught herself how to play banjo over the Internet, using a makeshift instrument. Kim is the only banjo player in Uzbekistan. Working through Elation Center for the Arts, a nonprofit arts organization the Roberts founded, they have raised most of the money to purchase the instrument. The Janna Banjo Fund, as it is called, has received support from banjo-maker Tom Nechville; composer/producer Jack Clift; professional football player/author Pat Toomay; director of media projects with New Mexico Dept. of Cultural Affairs Mimi Roberts, as well as from banjo players in the US, Belgium, Japan, France, Russia, Uzbekistan and the U.K.

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

Come to the library to hear the music of instruments from around the world and help support the Janna Banjo Fund — a banjo for a gifted musician halfway around the world.

For more information, call 731-3117.