Moment with Magic

*This is an account of a concert I attended in 2009 by the wonderful legendary drummer and singer and always young at heart; Bi Kidude*

I smiled as I rotated my hips and waist,gyrating slowly,my pace even with her staccato Unyago beats.Her voice pierced my eardrums and fired up the sky,the air crackled…almost…as the maybe-centerian Zanzibar gem sang and played her drum to her heart’s delight.The crowd almost just sat there;eyes sparkling,maybe a foot taping but most wore a bemused look,her music sparked their interest but didn’t move them to their feet.It was artsy,maybe even intellectually savvy,to sit there and soak in the wonders of her brand of Taarab but they didn’t get up and go with the flow…

But I danced there in the shadowy sidelines as I watched her thump her drum and give it a sound wallop.Tied to her waist,she drew her joy from the enormous oblong piece of wood and taunt sheep skin. Its intricate twines,knots and vines held her lovingly to her craft…her art….her talent…her life.I loved it when she shut her eyes and let her hands speak…every firm thump,drawn out or quick fast beat she sang out the drum,she savored.

Her eyes shut…feeling the music…seeing it explode,then start again,germinating and growing in her expert hands,the taunt and vast flatness of the skin was an old and familiar terrain beneath her palms.Flanked by her faithful two,she,older and obviously more sinewy and wispy haired,was majestic though her frame diminutive and as the drum reverberated one last time and the last chorus sang,a silence descended…In that quiet moment,that total absence of sound,that nanosecond before the applause…that’s when I knew it…

I just had a moment with magic.

© wanjeri gakuru

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