Saturday, December 24, 2011

Shall We Dance?

My favorite Season's Greetings e-card this year so far comes from Erin and the Project:

This talented duo, Lindsay Erin and Paul Ezekiel, have an album in the works produced by yours truly due out near the beginning of next year. At the moment it's a work in progress, so more on that when it's finished.

Their fresh, vivifying version of We Three Kings makes for a nice preview. Lindsay also sent me a link that investigates the song's history suggesting that the Magi may have been Zoroastrian Pilgrims. It also makes a connection between the fabled Star of Bethlehem and Sirius:

What about the Star that the Magi were following? The Christian story is intended to recall the "star of Jacob" mentioned in Numbers 24:17 : "A star from Jacob takes the leadership..." A star was symbolic of a god, or a deified king, in the ancient Middle East - stars appear on carved signature seals and wall-carvings. There are Zoroastrian legends about the Star of the Magi, that identify it as Tishtrya, or Sirius, the star whose rising heralds the coming of rain. Sirius first rises in late summer, just before dawn, and in winter nights around the solstice and Christmas it blazes in the sky in the early and middle evening. Tishtrya is a yazata or guardian spirit, now known as "Tir," whose festival, Tirgan, is celebrated in the summer with much splashing of water. But remember that this is Story, not History, so that the element of the Star of Bethlehem is not a real, identifiable star or celestial event. (That hasn't stopped generations of scholars from trying to find it.)

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In other news, the African roots music label, Kanega System Krush has a new release of music by Master djembe drummer Taga Sidibe. A review of it is here.

Taga is a renown figure throughout Mali drawing crowds into the thousands. He is both a revered hunter and musician versed in Sogonikun, a kind of music typically performed during ceremonies meant to uplift and beat back negativity. He is often called on to hype up audiences and entertain the occasional bush spirit, he says.

Drumming aficionado's will certainly find a wealth of listening pleasure in this album’s percussive mastery yet the epic level of musicality and pairing together with ‘Tu’ Sinayoko’s divine vocals makes it a must-have for music lovers the world over.

Taga represents one of the last bastions of traditional djembe drumming played in contrast to the all too common ballet style. Steady and true, his répertoire has been passed down through an ancient lineage. Learning at the hands of Mansa Bagayoko, Taga was hand picked to rigorously study drumming to continue an authentic tradition and integrate it into daily life. Whatever challenges one might face, music remains a source of wisdom and healing for the soul.

Last but not least on the Bari Dun Dun and Konkoni is Taga’s lifelong musical companion, Yakoub Sidibe. The incredible interplay between Taga and Yakoub has been honed since childhood when they first began playing together more than thirty years ago on the Kamalen N’Goni. The keenest of ears can sometimes hear up to forty variations of a single rhythm

I found it consciousness altering in a useful way when mixing it.

The cd liner notes mention that :

Besides being considered a Master of the Djembe, Taga is a traditional medicine man, a healer, a hunter, and a farmer. When he is not engaged in ceremony or ceremonial music, Taga spends his time in Wassoulou (a region in Mali) with his family where he grows millet, rice, and corn.

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