The banjo is a staple of American country, bluegrass and folk music, but do its real roots lie in Africa?
Grammy award-winning banjo player Bela Fleck travelled to The Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Uganda and Tanzania to find out, recording an album and documentary film with the musicians he met along the way. The film, Throw Down Your Heart, is released on 24 April.
Bela Fleck told the BBC World Service what he discovered.
Photos by Sascha Paladino
Music: Ajula/Mbamba - The Jatta Family; Jesus is the only Answer - Ateso Jazz Band; Wairenziante - Muwewesu Xylophone Group; Throw Down Your Heart - Haruna Samake Trio and Bassekou Kouyate; all from Bela Fleck - Throw Down Your Heart: Tales from the Acoustic Planet Vol. 3
Slideshow by James Fletcher. Publication date 24 April 2009.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.