June 7, 2010
I watched an outstanding play last weekend called “The Great War” – playing at the Cameron House on Queen Street West. It was witty, playful, funny, but still relevant about the atrocities and darkness of war.
This play was revealing in its meagerness of materials – no Mirvish production here. It goes to show that all you need is great acting, great lighting, and great costumes and props. I couldn’t believe how effective they were with a tiny stage and well-timed lighting and dialogue. Highly recommended.
June 7, 2010
I heard a beautiful documentary on CBC radio on Sunday about a band of eclectic musicians who are playing their annual concert tomorrow night at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts. For tickets, you can call Ruth Fishman at 647-295-2345.
April 18, 2010
I drummed yesterday after many months, and as usual after a lengthy layoff, it went from a casual class to drumming for a visiting Chief from Ghana! Actually (since the Chief was really late) we mostly drummed for the increasingly-bored and disinterested crowd of Ghanaians who seemed to want nothing to do with traditional drumming. Another example of the “love your colonizer” mentality? Or the “we are different than those uncivilized people back home” mentality? Or maybe we were just terrible.
January 10, 2010
I played for a West-African dance class today and it felt good to drum again and to spend time with a lot of beautiful people. A couple of years back, I took a few dance classes to see if it would help my drumming – not sure about the drumming, but it did help me get over a little bit of the fear of dancing and it also built on the respect that I have for dancers. African dance is very physical in its movements and it demands that you are in good physical condition, but dancing when you are not confident demands that you are in good mental shape as well.
At the end of dance classes, a student is encouraged to enter the circle, formed by other dancers and the drummers, and to perform a short dance solo. This circle format resembles the way that most dancing occurs in Guinea, Mali and other countries of West-Africa. Today, I watched someone with a great fear of dancing in public (never mind the pressure of the circle), overcome that fear with beauty and humbleness. It was wonderful to watch.
January 9, 2010
I played an absolutely beautiful rhythm called Kakilambe today. It’s from the Baga people from West Africa and it is played to invoke a powerful forest god that tells your fortune for the year. The rhythm was music today, and it affected me and moved me so much that I actually was able to dance and play for the first time ever.
Hopefully today is reflective of my fortunes for the year – to hear and make music so sweet that it moves you – spiritually, emotionally and physically.