Elation Center for the Arts launched a fundraising campaign to send a banjo to a gifted young musician in Uzbekistan.
Not exactly known as being a venue for American banjo music, Uzbekistan has one banjo player in the entire country.
Her name is Janna Kim.
Kim, a talented 24-year-old professional singer, taught herself how to play banjo over the Internet using a makeshift instrument. Now she brings the happy sounds of American bluegrass to a part of the world that, for the most part, has never heard this music. She plans on continuing to develop her expertise on the banjo and hopes to someday perform her music internationally.
To assist this brilliant young artist with achieving her creative goals, Elation Center for the Arts partnered with Nechville Musical Products, a leading banjo manufacturer in Bloomington, Minnesota. Tom Nechville, whose world-class banjos are highly revered by musicians throughout the world, provided a matching opportunity to obtain one of his instruments in support of the philanthropic endeavor. “What I like about the bluegrass, old-time and acoustic music community,” says Nechville, “is that it is international. That fact gives us common ground upon which we can form the foundation of friendship.”
Jack Clift, an American music producer, generously offered to transport the instrument and present it to Kim on his next visit to Uzbekistan. Clift owns a recording company called Effigy Records. He is the founder of a music ensemble in Uzbekistan that merges American roots music with traditional music of Central Asia. Clift’s co-producer is John Carter Cash, the son of Johnny Cash and June Carter.
Other sponsors of the project include Pat Toomay, author and former pro football player; Mimi Roberts, Director of Media Projects with the New Mexico Dept of Cultural Affairs; and BanjoCrazy.com.
Contributions have been received from banjoists in the US, Russia, Japan, France and England who became acquainted with Kim and her music through the Banjo Hangout, an online forum for banjo enthusiasts. “For many folks in other parts of the world, the sound of the banjo is the sound of freedom,” remarked one contributor.
Copyright 2013 Elation Center for the Arts