There is a great awakening occurring now.
In my times as a New Yorker, I had the opportunity to work as a member of the cast of a musical entitled, A Tapestry of Dreams. This play was conceived and written by a man named, Nat Bucknell; the music was composed by the noted, Carol Hall.
In one scene, I delivered the line, “The Japanese character for crisis, also means enlightenment.” This is, as far as I can tell, a great truth of nature which the Jazz man is ultimately in submission of. The battle front in our consciousness is a fiery and bombastic place where the instinctual response is to run and cover. And yet you find yourself drawn closer to the firing line again.
Danny Barker set this idea down much more eloquently and nuanced in his, “A Memory of King Bolden” from, Buddy Bolden & The Last Days of Storyville. At Bolden's pivotal moment, the music he begins to play, “for a while sounds like the Blues, then like a Hymn.” The narrator proclaims and confesses, “It sounded like a battle between the Good Lord and The Devil! Something tells me to listen and see who wins! If Bolden stops on the Hymn, the Good Lord wins; if he stops on the Blues, The Devil wins.”
The Ashe Cultural Arts Center has for eleven years, brought about a public event known as the, M.A.A.F.A. Commemorating the trans-Atlantic slave trade/middle passage. The day-long journey begins in Congo Square just awhile after daybreak. The M.A.A.F.A. draws hundreds of people of all skin hues, dressed in white to prayerfully recall our legacy.
Ahse's co-founder Carol Bebelle in her welcoming words pointed to the dilemma of, “how we are to move further from it.” How much memory is to be gathered before we can fully understand ourselves in this terrific story? And what Mr. Barker referred to as, “this system we live under.”
“And always the blues singer, male or female, to tell the story.”
How long...? Oh how long, has that evening train been gone?
Later in the day, at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center, there was also a very compelling presentation by actor – and now writer – Isaiah Washington. He's written a memoir, A Man from Another Land – How Finding My Roots Changed My Life, in which he tells of having his own DNA tested and located as having originated from the Mende people of what is now Sierra Leone. Mr. Washington has attained dual citizenship, and is considered a “Chief” in Sierra Leone.
The Freedom Train ferociously rolling thru this year's offering... We were blessed by the ever buoyant being of master dancer and drummer, Titos Sompa – who heard Louis Armstrong in 1960, in his native land of the Congo as a boy of ten years. From then on, as he declared, “I have been trying to get to Congo Square.”
Get to Congo Square! We drum and dance every Sunday afternoon.
Peace & Pops,
Maison Musique, New Orleans
My Catalogue of CD's Available Thru A Locally Owned & Operated Retailer Worthy of Your Support:
MOMENTS OF SOUND: ESQUIZITO 1996-2006 is now available in Digital Download thru:
Amazon, iTunes, Emusic, Shockhound, Lala and, Rhapsody - which like iTunes, you would search for: esquizito.
LAST WORDS: “Oh melody! Oh memory! Oh melody!” - Louis Armstrong