Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Backstage with the Song and Dance Ensemble of West Africa. My teacher is wearing the white hat.

An unexpected day off gave me some time to go to my drumming teacher's house and hang with his musician friends from Mali. They are in the area for just a day. Sidy drove 2 hours to pick them up last night and will bring them back this evening.

I think Malians are very good at hanging out. Even with a major language barrier (my French is beyond atrocious and their English is non-existent) we had a great time watching home videos and eating fine African food and drinking tea and teaching each other the words for grapes, water, what is your name?

At one point, Makan started playing the djembe and Ladje began to dance. They faced off in Sidy's tiny living room. Makan would play a rhythm and Ladje would listen for a moment, then begin a complex series of movements to match the sound. They told a story, together, really. Sidy videotaped the whole thing while my friend Lisa and I just watched with idiotic grins on our faces. The whole thing went on for nearly 20 minutes... it was absolutely extraordinary.

We had vague plans to bring the visitors to see the beach, which they have never seen before. But cooking and chatting and tea and dancing went on so long that in the end, we never got around to it. Maybe next time!

Hangin' with the Africans. Yup.

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