Friday, May 22, 2009

Mazé Kouyaté

My dear friend and teacher, Mazé Kouyaté, died unexpectedly this week in Bamako. We suspect it was a cerebral hemmorhage.

Mazé was a very intuitive and powerful teacher. When I studied with him, he never said a word, or even used facial expressions, but would just demonstrate what he wanted me to do and wait until I got it. I will never forget what a thrill it was when it all finally clicked. I didn't know until afterwards that it was a thrill for him, too!

I came back from Mali with his drum, which was, for me, an extraordinary honor.

And while this is a profound personal loss, I also feel deeply grateful that I got a chance to study with and be friends with this gentle and wonderful man.

Tu me manques, mon cher. Toujours.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bubbling over...

When I work at Nicole's, I often cook several dishes at once. I feel like a kitchen dervish, chopping here, tasting there, lifting lids on steaming pots and stirring stir fries while the smells of baking things emanate from the oven. I am a culinary mad scientist.

My life is kind of like that, too. Together, the many dishes can sometimes be overwhelming, but each is a labor of love. Each dish is carefully prepared, the ingredients are lovingly chopped, the recipe developed from years of experience, the main components are brought together into delicious and complex relationships which yield tasty results.

Does stuff get burned? Sure, sometimes.

But at the end of the day, my crazy kitchen of a life is a great joy.