Sunday, November 6, 2011

Jazz à Dakar

We've traded in Hip Hop for Jazz and Saturday night was no exception in terms of 2 hours of musical enjoyment while we put aside the bombardment of people who jostle on the street for attention by starting a conversation of "Don't you remember me?". This happened to Manning just the other day - these things happen so suddenly in terms of being diverted but now with a heightened sense of knowledge on this 'scam'.  Then he says "I'm a friend of  "so and so"  (where now the name can be anyone we've actually met - Oumar, Amadou, Babacar - but know it is not true)  and don't you remember?" and Manning said "where?" and then the guy said "Burkina-Fasso" (so laughable now-having never been there and knowing the scam) then Manning plays along and said "when" and he replied "2008 in South Africa" At that point Manning chuckled and walked away to only have him seek out his next target. 

One thing is for sure, we always know within the walls of the Cultural Center, you are safe from this predatory behavior. Here, you can put your guard down and  let the music just take you away.

This weekend was two evenings of Jazz but did not realize it was a 'festival' - thinking we were going to see Jazz de l’Orchestre National du Sénégal (but they only played on Friday) and we had tickets for Saturday. We still ended up with some enjoyable sounds starting off with  Abdou Guité Seck - who is noted for his music of  Mbalax (or Mbalakh) which taken from Wikipedia -  is the national popular dance music of Senegal and The Gambia.  Mbalax is a fusion of popular Western music and dance such as jazz, soul, latin and rock blended with sabar, the traditional drumming and dance music of Senegal - played with one hand and one stick.

Just about the time the first set was to end - it was evident Parker and Addison were overly restless. The chairs are not even that comfortable to fall asleep in or to stretch out on  What to do. What to do. Two things  - 1. Given the Institut is so close to home - an executive decision was made - I would walk them back to the apartment - ensure they got settled in with their pj's and a book and return  AND  2. Next time, we're pretty sure because of the lateness of these shows - providing them with some popcorn, a cell phone and a movie - they can manage themselves at home for a few hours and be much happier.

I would return just in time to settle in with Manning to hear - Senegalese bass player - NDioba - nicknamed Ndiobass because of his bass playing with an infectious groove - as one review described; he also has a knack for melody and a beautiful voice. A refreshing atmosphere pervades the music. He was clearly playing to the audience of his own country and enjoying it.

A quote from Ndioba "Music is a universal language. It can help to bring people together whether they are rich or poor, black or white, young or old. It is about exploring and appreciating life within all its forms. Diversity is like spices in the food. It is why in my solo material I mix African groove with jazz, salsa, funk, hip-hop, reggae, world music and pop. "  

I think at the end of the night I would agree we got a nice mix of music but we're still looking for "the Jazz". Up next Bembeya-Jazz in December  ;+}

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