The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday February 8th

Grammy Award winner Bela Fleck to come to Pittsboro

When 14-time Grammy Award winner Bela Fleck comes to Pittsboro on Saturday, he’ll find a home at Manifold Recording studios.

In some ways, the 1-year-old studio has been waiting for the world-class banjo player.

“We built that studio with the intention of bringing in people like Bela Fleck,” said Michael Tiemann, co-owner and general manager of Manifold Recording.

“The fact that it’s happening, it’s a little bit like ‘Field of Dreams.’ We’re thrilled.”

Fleck, 54, will spend three days in the studio working on material for an album to be released next September.

And he won’t be going at it alone.

Brooklyn Rider, a New York-based string quartet, will join him to record as a banjo and string quintet.

The artists are holding a benefit concert in studio for Carolina Performing Arts, giving spectators the opportunity to view a live recording in a salon-style setting.

Tickets for the event are $1,000 for the performance or $2,000 for the performance and a dinner with the artists, said Rachel Ash, development and stewardship manager for CPA. The purchase of a ticket counts as a tax-deductible donation to CPA.

Joe Florence, CPA’s manager of marketing and communications, said the event is a testament to the organization’s strong relationships with artists like Fleck and Brooklyn Rider.

Brooklyn Rider will also be performing tonight at UNC’s Memorial Hall.

“This just kind of was a perfect storm and a great opportunity,” Florence said.

“When they have every resource available to them in Nashville and New York, they chose Manifold studios, so that is awesome for the area.”

For Fleck, this weekend will offer the opportunity to explore new territory — both literally and musically.

The banjo player is well known in the music world for his versatility, earning Grammy nominations in more categories than any other musician in history.

Fleck said in an email that he’s already recorded the first part of his new album — a 35-minute banjo concerto commissioned by the Nashville Symphony.

The quintet with Brooklyn Rider will round out the album and give Fleck a chance to try something new.

“I have been interested in the banjo string quartet combination for quite a while, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to create one,” Fleck said. “The next question was — with who?

“And that’s when I found out about Brooklyn Rider. They seemed to be the perfect group to do this with, and all roads led to them.”

The decision to record at Manifold Recording was largely spearheaded by the members of Brooklyn Rider, who visited the studio while it was still under construction in September 2010, Tiemann said.

Tiemann said the string quartet immediately fell in love with the space, which is designed both for recording and live performance.

“What they said after their visit was, ‘We don’t know how we’re going to do it, but our next project is going to be here,’” Tiemann said.

Tiemann said Fleck usually records in Nashville, but the members of Brooklyn Rider talked him into working in Pittsboro.

“We had Bela out in the studio last week just to make sure everything is good, and Bela had a wonderful visit,” Tiemann said. “He’s very psyched about it.”

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