Amidst all my running around this weekend, it almost slipped past me that today would have been Bartók's 131st birthday. As timeless and transcendent as Bartók's music continues to be, sometimes we need a little reminder that Bartók was as much a folk musician as he was a classical composer, devoting a good portion of his life to preserving the indigenous music of his native Hungary (which is how he and his wife Ditta spent their first year in NYC, working at Columbia University.)
Enter Jake Schepps, a banjo player from Boulder, CO who has transcribed some 20 Bartók compositions for string band; no doubt Bartók himself would have approved. Schepps' album, An Evening In The Village, is available today only as a free download; go here for details. You can also stream the album below.