Friday, August 26, 2005

You missed it! Moving Music

Mikaela says:
Last night I had the earth pulled from under my feet. I had my soul slipped through musical chords. I had my tongue transported to Africa.

And you missed it. You and the rest of Albuquerque.

Last night, Prince Diabate reigned in the Duke City. Hard to explain really, the power this man has in his ten fingers plucking TWENTY-ONE kora strings. Never heard a kora? Neither had I until last night, and it blew me AWAY.

Now I'm not one to get overly emotional -- often. I err on the side of music that stirs me to melancholy. This sound ... this music picked me up and filled all the crevices that have been parched for 30 years without me even knowing. This is the biggest, fullest music I have ever heard.

He came here as Lo Maduro de La Cultura, a series at the South Broadway Cultural Center brought by the City of Albuquerque Cultural Services, UNM Center for Latin American Resources and Outreach (CLARO), and Caminos Culturales. The Prince of the Kora played with his cousin, master balafonist Djelimadi Kouyate from Paris, France.

The mood for the evening was set by
Youth Storyteller Champion Tamarind King. This girl was AMAZING. She was flawless and filled with light and spirit and HUMOR. Oh my god! The voices this girl could inhabit.

I can't use enough hyperbole to express how moved I was last night. Picked up and MOVED. Transformed. Deported, transported, welcomed, and embraced.

Within five seconds of the start of the music, I was weeping. My breath didn't seem to want to enter or leave my mouth. I wanted to hold it in my chest and use it to push the stray notes around my limbs until all my cells got a chance to dance.

I found myself filling up with gratitude. The grace! Life! Such wonderful surprises! You walk in expecting music and find instead: religious conversion! A pentecostal high.

Holy shit!

And then the shame that never quite fell into despair. Here they were, these African musicians. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. Giving us such a gift of light. And our government bleeds blackness on the world and turns our back on every atrocity homegrown in Africa. What do we give back?

For this night, this one last night, it was enough in certain moments to appreciate and celebrate and share. We met like with like, and we all rode the wave together. For one night, grace. And a joy that comes with loving so much you feel universal. For one night, this intoxication was not dangerous. And those who could stand danced.

What other life-transforming events come here and pass by every day without any of us knowing? Now that's enough to make you weep.


Blogger Erik Loomis said...

You might want to check out the music of Foday Musa Suso who plays the Kora as well as the Dousongonni and western style guitars. I know of him from Material's Live in Japan album from 1993 which is quite good though has an intensity about it that might turn off some people.

10:38 AM  

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