Banja, Edgar Meyer, Bela discussed on On Being with Krista Tippett


The truth about your sexual orientation it really runs the gamut of does this is fun something. Also that intrigued me actually. Neither one of you has a really extensive professional training. I mean i mean this is you. You really came to this very late. Bela i mean you. Are the premier banjo player. Possibly in the world. And when you did this. I was reading when you did this when you did the the concerto you you had to. This is fascinating that you use the computer to help you translate between the difference between what you knew and how to do this kind of orchestral composition that you don't have real formal compositions on my head in high school there was there was nothing for the banja. They didn't have a place to put me and then when when after high school. I moved to boston. And i would've loved to gone to berkeley but they didn't have a place to put me there either so i just you know trying to figure out music that i loved you know one note at a time if i love charlie parker solo or culture solo. I just tried to figure out the first measure on the banjo. Describe build up my own understanding of the banjo so when trying to write a piece like that. It's not that i don't write music. I write banjo tablet. That's the way we communicate about how we play and the reason we used these this number system for for band communication because there's a lot of places to play the same note and those notes come fast so it's not enough to know that it's a d you need to know which it is and what not coming so it's better for me to see three and a seven and a five then then d. a. and c. and banjo players will know what position are totally day. Yeah so which means when it came time to. And then. When i play with people like the flat tones or my bluegrass fan sam bush jerry. Douglas and edgar meyer greek. Classical musician as well as everything else. I usually just bring a sketch. And i trust them to fill it all in great musicians. That are improvisers. We'll do that. You don't write out every note for them but when writing for an orchestra too. So how am i going to do that. Because i didn't have the skills to do that and so i did it with using that banjo. Help your computer program called sibelius where i could write the stuff in banja tablets and then copy and paste it onto a violence or french horn stave and it would turn into notation that they could read and then i hand that notation to copy of to clean it up and make it legible and that's sort of slowed me slow me down but i honestly i was going very fast and abigail. I have to say when i first experienced the two of you. I assume that you were somebody who'd grown up learning this and you are well. You're very much considered to be now. You're you're you're you play with bailiff luck and the two of you are in this this this this banjo playing duo and when you were pregnant you know some real some music reporters that now. They will give birth to the holy banjo emperor right. But but part of what you've been out there talking about and you delivered the commencement address or colorado college alma mater and you. You talked a lot about this this way. You were open to experience and you really discovered this thing that has become defining in fact you are defining. You know you're you're helping to define this kind of music now and culture but it was very unexpected. You didn't prepare for it all your life in a in a linear way. Well i a piece of my story that i don't really ever tell because it just adds another thirty seconds is the fact that When i left vermont on my road trip to go south before i was headed to china to become a lawyer i My first thought my very first stop was at the very center for buddhist studies and i spent five days meditating and it was the first time ever meditated my whole life and to this day. It's one of the hardest things i've ever done to sit. Still my body ached. I became afraid. I was hurting myself and then i felt the voices inside my head telling me about all the time i had hurt and i went into the darkest place and one day. I remember. I was sitting. There must have been three days in or something. And i went into this very deep place. Finally i wasn't really thinking a whole lot and i came out of it. Hours later and my entire shirt was covered with tears and burgers. I mean it was not pretty. And i i i. In that moment. I stood up an nobody was in the room. They had all left. And i know that. I had let go of something major I'm not even totally sure what it is to this day. But i know that. I didn't really feel like a victim anymore. When i left that place. I felt like i was clean and fresh and pure and i could make my decisions and that within days i was in louisville kentucky playing the phones on the banjo and was offered a record deal in nashville. Tennessee and i went to nashville. Instead of i came to nashville instead of going to china to go to law. School and i felt ready for that. I felt ready. Were you always a singer or did that come later too. I always loved. Singing inquire all through school. And i'd always try out for the solos. And i never got them so i really didn't fancy myself. Much of a singer. Didn't think i was going to be perceived as a cassisi. That's what i got out of getting ready to talk to you. Don't you don't really consider yourself to be a great musician no you don't you feel like this is something you came too late and this impostor language i mean. I don't think you do feel like an impostor because you you you throw yourself into it so joyfully but you don't think of yourself the way other people think of you as a musician right. No i don't and i but that is no harm or foul to how i feel about the muse. Yeah yeah and i feel like Just like most of my life. I hope that it's a service to people just goes back to my childhood. Yeah i do. Hope that i'm helping. I'm hoping that i'm continually through the music. Cultivating myself to have compassion and empathy into expressed that to people and talked to my mom today as we were walking around the lake trying to think of things from childhood and not. Forget too much. When i talk to you tonight and i was remembering. What a sensitive child i was. I was so Tuned in to everybody's feelings and it was a beautiful thing. Because i saw people's feelings before i saw them and now i consider it a great gift but at the time i didn't know how to manage it and so i felt darkness a lot because i immediately would recognize people feeling darkness and even in high school girl who had schizophrenia and talk to herself in the bathroom i would just be friendly with her because i could see. She was struggling and the counselor said that she said i heard the voices two. It was just really tuned into something there. And i saw that my mom comes to me honestly and my whole life. I've had to learn how to manage. That and a beautiful thing is that a song teaches me to manage that. Because i feel something so strong. Most songs i choose to sing unless there because his song becomes a container for the container for the empathy for the sensitivity. So i can feel something so strongly I been singing the song Come all you coal miners. That was written by an amazing woman named sarah ogan gunning and she was raised in a a coal camp and her child starved to death because they couldn't get milk for her baby and her husband died of black lung. And all of these things i i hear her story and i'm crying. I'm crying. i start to sing the song. Come all hugh hefner wherever you may be and listen to us to the next with the truth. I'll tell i am a coal miners. He i'm sure wish you will. Coal.

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