From Malian Melodies to a Midcentury Modern Symphony: Banjo Innovator Jayme Stone Travels to The Other Side of the Air
Two-time Juno-winning banjoist, composer and instigator Jayme Stone makes music inspired by sounds from around the world, bridging folk, jazz and chamber music. His award-winning albums both defy and honor the banjo’s long role in the world’s music, turning historical connections into compelling music. His most recent album, The Other Side of the Air (2013) is a travelogue of imaginary landscapes and faraway lands. The album traverses the Cinnamon Route through Persia and India, revisits and reinvents melodies Stone collected in West Africa and includes a Concerto for Banjo and Chamber Symphony.
Room of Wonders (2010) explores music from Norway, Sweden, Bulgaria, Brazil, Italy and North America. The repertoire includes a movement from Bach’s French Suite, a Moorish sword-fighting dance and Stone’s lush, edgy originals. Africa to Appalachia (2008) is a boundary-crossing musical collaboration with griot singer Mansa Sissoko that explores the banjo’s African roots and Stone’s adventures in Mali. The Utmost (2007) draws inspiration from Japanese poetry and Brazilian literature and includes a tiny symphony that takes place inside an imaginary lightbulb. Stone is the consummate collaborator, unearthing musical artifacts and magnetizing extraordinary artists to help rekindle these understudied sounds.
Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project is his latest adventure. Focusing on songs collected by folklorist and field recording pioneer Alan Lomax, this collaboratory brings together some of North America’s most distinctive and creative roots musicians to revive, recycle and re-imagine traditional music. The repertoire includes Bahamian sea chanties, African-American acappella singing from the Georgia Sea Islands, ancient Appalachian ballads, fiddle tunes and work songs collected from both well-known musicians and everyday folk: muleskinners, roustabouts, sawyers, prisoners, homemakers and schoolchildren. Collaborators include Grammy-winning songwriter Tim O’Brien, Bruce Molsky, Brittany Haas, Moira Smiley, Margaret Glaspy, Eli West, Julian Lage, Greg Garrison, Joe Phillips, Mollie O’Brien, Ron Miles, Drew Gonsalves and more.
Stone is also a passionate educator, producer and collaborator. Click here to read testimonials from folks who have worked, dreamed and studied with him.