Saturday, January 3, 2009
West African music
http://westafricandance.com/ click on "bio" then scroll down to see the movement in slow motion. Notice the smile.
http://www.lebagatae.com/ and http://www.lebagatae.com/Store1.html# click on "see preview 1"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YlDR_cLHYg and this is what it looks like
West African Natives have a very ingrained musical tradition tied to healing, "djeli" families are responsible for oral passing of tradition, music, storytelling, and peacemaking.
I have been hanging out with several of those Natives lately and playing drums and dancing, and there is a definite and very pronounced healing effect and community building. These are very very traditional moves and rhythms, very ancient, and they are designed to "do" something and they do - they somehow put you in a higher state and thus heal.
Africans drum and sing and dance with everything - someone drums when they work the fields, when they fish, for initiations, etc. Not to mention the aerobic workout, sense of movement, presence, concentration, relaxation, freedom in the body, etc. Westerners often think it is great for drum circles and shaking one's butt sexy, but that is soooo off the mark, and this African music just recalibrates us Westerners to being normal again and functional within a community.
In short, this "art part" is a very crucial part of Native living, a magical part.
Right now a lot of West Africa is staying home jobless and just getting drunk on home-made beer. What Africa has to offer is priceless and we need to somehow learn it while there are a few keepers left.
I have tried all kinds of music and dance, but West African has something pure and undiluted, because it is completely illogical and forces you think about each and every step. Also, it is completely free of any games, pretenses, etc, just joy of dancing and being alive and connected to Earth. Belly dancing should be like that too, but it is often reduced to the level of sex entertainment and/or has an attitude of trying the engage the audience and keep them captivated, i.e. it becomes emotionally charged drama and ego food. West African is not sexy at all although it has a lot of pelvic moves and is sexy, but the moves are done with pelvis like they would be done with an arm or head, all body parts are EQUAL. It is very ... Earthy and very One. Also, the emotion is neutral, it is sheer joy. There is no dramas, no games, nothing. Just joy.
Something Sacred and Something That Builds Community is hidden in that music and dance.
And I encourage you to explore it.
We need to wish for these very precious ancient art keepers sincere wishes to succeed and pass the knowledge. These are Native people in charge of what might be one of the few left truly ancient healing things. Please respect and support them and help them Teach.
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