December 9 - 11


Dec. 9 - Zeke Bop, one of the dancers in Baaba Maal's band, Daande Lenol, came to the house today to give us a dance lesson. Have you ever seen him in performance? It's a treat not to be missed! Our new African women friends dressed us in wraps and beads to help us with the flow and give us confidence. Meanwhile, our drummers were Massamba, Tony (when he wasn't dancing), Steve, and one of Massamba's other multi-talented friends. How's that for support?! Zeke was patient with us, and made us feel graceful and successful.

Dec. 9 - We took a trip to the market today, too. No pictures though; we were advised not to take cameras. My, oh my were we popular! We had crowds of market sellers following us around, on our heals, offering us, "a good price special for you." For all you folks who wonder if you can really barter - prices dropped from 60000 cfa's to 10000 cfa's for a kora, from 25000 to 5000 for a djembe case, from 10000 to 2 for 2000 for a bracelet. Massamba and Abdoul took really good care of us - it kind of reminded us of how we felt when we went on our first class trip in kindergarten. Remember feeling that if you lose your teacher, you may never see your home again? (No, we didn't choose partners and hold hands.)

Zeke Bop

Dec. 10 - The Lion Came Calling.

Our friend Cheikh, a drum maker, brought two of his friends who had 3 magnificently carved djembes to show us. One of his friends, the man on the right, was the lion from the "Simba" Festival last week! He was really friendly in person. Debby asked if she could play his drum. This was a serious cultural moment, because women are not expected to play djembes here. Without hesitation, the Lion said, "Wow" which means "yes" in Wolof and then he reached for one of the other drums and actually played a rhythm with her. Another magic moment...the lion, the epitome of masculine power, freely shared his power with an American woman.

Dec. 10 - Goree Island - "the door of no return."

Dec. 11 - The group at the private party where Baaba Maal invited the World Rhythms folks to play on stage for a set. It was a beautifully decorated, outdoor club. The guests here were very westernized and formal as compared to our neighborhood village friends.

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