09 January, 2010

the thaw

i was writing about dancing yesterday. it's been on my mind lately, how i use my body to react to music. sometimes i get frustrated that i have an instrument hanging on my neck so often. my favorite moments on stage are ones where i can put down whatever it is i am holding and move unfettered.

i wrapped up cultureweek2010 last night with a night of dancing to new orleans bands. perhaps because the APAP conference is this week, the musical offerings this weekend were vast. a new friend from new orleans was here in town, so i tagged along while she went around visiting her hometown bands.

after an amazing ethiopian dinner at meskerem, we started at sullivan hall. john ellis, paul sanchez, jason marsalis, and christian scott all took the stage in some form or other. there was tuba, trumpet, harmonica, vibes, and more, all mixing it up. it was early in the evening, and the crowd was moving like they needed more drinks. me too. i hadnt been to a club to just dance in awhile. you have to dance to new orleans music, but it took me a second to get going.

by the time we transfered to the bitter end to see rosie ledet, things had changed. i was feeling looser, and so were the hundred plus people packed into that tiny club.
i played at the bitter end once in 1997. i met one of my oldest friends that night, and duncan sheik tried to buy my $5 cassette with a $100 bill. i just gave him the cassette. wonder if he even remembers?

so we danced and danced to rosie as she played traditional zydeco music. more than once, i stopped dancing to think, this reminds me of afrobeat. both musics are primarly for dancing. they have simple forms. percussion and drone are key components. the washboard and the shekere clatter underneath the music and form a constant backbone. and the music just goes and goes. every song must have been at least 6 or 7 minutes. i really have no idea exactly because i danced until i got sweaty, which was a fantastic feeling in the middle of january.

i hate the way my body feels this time of year. and i hate the way my body feels when i dont get to loosen up and let go with music like rosie's. it took me a week, but i eventually warmed up and thawed out.


  1. As always, you inspire me to write, sing, and adventure. Cultureweek2010 has me looking forward to my own (destination to be determined) adventure for 2010. It take a while to plan and execute, so in the meantime I will look for little every day adventures and most importantly transmit. You are good stuff Erin.

  2. I grew up on Zydeco, before I even knew that it was my heritage, before I even knew what it was. I still think it's the best music to dance to, ever, but that could be because it's in my blood.

    I agree with Shelby, reading about other people's adventures makes me want to go out and experience the world more.