Brooklyn Timbuktu


I decided to revisit some of my favorite MySpace music friends, one of whom is Jeremiah Lockwood. I followed the breadcrumb trail from his solo page to his current career with Sway Machinery.  While I enjoyed the title and sexy bluesy sway of his song Going to Brooklyn, it did not prepare me for the improvisation, culture mingling, deep-seated respect and innovation of his current venture with Sway Machinery. I heart many forms of West African music, and Mali ranks high in my book. This partnership of fileh and gita drums, n’goni harps, electric guitar, alto saxophone, dance and vocals, etc, is to my mind, eye and spirit, Miraculous! To see traditional Malian Muslim musicians dressed in traditional garb performing alongside American Jewish musicians in suits and stingy-brim fedoras is just brilliant.

They cut a hypnotic tune, and you can see the surprise on the drummers face at the horn improv and how it affected their traditional sound. Novel decoration for a deeply loved musical structure. Deep musical respect and utter trust is what allowed this moment to happen, so very far away from where I sit in Brooklyn. I’ve traveled to West Africa a few times from Brooklyn, so I can deeply appreciate the journey; Even a direct flight is very loooong, the sun is HOT, customs are different and in-country travel is slow-going. This video is more than a recording of a fantastic musical performance, it allows us to bear witness through time and space to something many people may view as impossible: religious acceptance and mutual positive regard in deeply troubled times. It is also form of ambassadorship as not every American or European descended traveler to Africa has had positive intentions, and it also evidences a commitment to intercontinental musical collaboration and not usurpation.

This moment is a changing of the world, it shows a willingness to be inspired by each other, completely open. This is inspiring , and with this inspiration, I dig my well that much deeper, and deeper still we go…

Ashe.

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