Asheville, North Carolina, is a friendly, forward-thinking town tucked into the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains. It is also a busker’s haven, welcoming street musicians and actively encouraging public creativity. We sang for our supper twice in Asheville, once during the afternoon at the “Splashville” splash park, and at night in a small plaza outside of French Broad Chocolate Lounge.
INSTRUMENTS! This is what happens when a mild-mannered kiddie world music teacher, not unlike yours truly, opens his bag of instrumental tricks — drums and rattles and shakers, oh my! — and pours the contents of said bag on the floor of a mind-mannered venue like the auditorium of the Main Branch of the Louisville Public Library and lets the kid in attendance go at ’em.
No kids were harmed in the photographing of this incident. One tambourine gave its life for the cause.
Two sets of musical adventures today in Kansas City, the first joining homeschooling families galore at All Souls Universalist Unitarian Church and the second, a smaller, quirky set at the Cotillion Room and Garden, a wedding hall in Independence with a mirrored ceiling, as you can see from the photo below. Overflowing gratitude to Dionna Ford for setting the wheels for these adventures in motion.
Pure joy last night, performing multilingual with abandon in the backyard concert venue of the inimitable — yes, I said INIMITABLE — Song-Wizard, Dave Kinnoin. Here the Sands sing “Wan Boto,” a Surinamese fisherman’s song with the call, “One boat is coming with just one flag!” and the response, “Why is just one flag hanging?”
Sounds much more profound in in Sranan Tongo.
Today at the Discovery Learning Center in delightful Santa Cruz, California, I taught an introductory All Around This World class to a half dozen homeschooling families. We sang about a joyous Nubian wedding. We sang in Hindi about an aspirational starscape. We sang about a lonely Romanian singer with a talent for turning a phrase. An odd set of songs for a trove of toddlers? For me, all in a day’s work.
Good times at Oakland’s historic Temple B’nai Abraham this morning, singing tunes from All Around This World’s “Scattered Among The Nations” set of international Jewish songs — songs in languages like Ubzek, Luganda, Ge’ez (the ancient liturgical language of Ethiopia Jews), Shona, Ladino, and a couple in Hebrew and Yiddish for good measure.
Speaking of diversity in the Jewish world, Jay sang at Temple B’nai Abraham at the invitation of Bryan Schwartz, photographer and author of Scattered Among the Nations: Photographs and Stories of the World’s Most Isolated Jewish Communities, which inspired my set of multilingual Jewish songs. If you look closely at the image of the book jacket you’ll also see my name there in little print. I took the photos and wrote the text for the book’s chapters about the Abayudaya of Uganda and the Shona Jews of Zimbabwe.
Today the kiddos and I drove north from our cousins’ house in San Francisco, crossing the Golden Gate and blasting out of the S.F. chill zone into the warm and sunny San Anselmo, where we were the outta-town guests at a Bay Area region gathering of the Children Music Network. We were honored to share the “stage” with lovely and talented performers and educators like Pam Donkin (who taught us a fun hello song), Liz Hannan (who taught us a song about donkeys), Andy Z (who taught us a song about dinosaurs) and Cristal, who hosted us all in her Music Together of Marin space.
I spent most of yesterday at the HUGE and happenin’ Peninsula JCC in Foster City, California, where I helped the JCC’s day camp wind down for the summer by winding kids up for their season-ending carnival. In the afternoon I sang Scattered Among the Nations with kids in their camp groups, which you see in the pictures above and below. When the camp day ended I led an international Likrat Shabbat service, introducing kids to prayer melodies from far-flung places like Bukhara, Turkey, India, the Iberian Peninsula and the Caribbean. After the service the camp counselors, giddy from a successful summer, upstaged me and all the chipper campers by singing the heck out of a set of All Around This World songs.
Today at Portland’s Hillsdale Library I sang multiple multicultural, multilingual songs for a multicultural, multilingual, multi-generational crowd. A favorite? “Chukke Hakki,” a Hindi song that inspire us to reach high high high in the sky, to see if we can catch the stars.
Rox in Sox, Portland’s premiere “Children’s Music and Book Festival,” founded and hosted by the very generous musician and organizer Aaron Nigel Smith, was a stunning success this year, and not just because the main act, OzoKids, roxed our sox off. First of all, there was a llama. Second of all, there was a llama. Third of all, there was some sort of cool Home Depot building project for kids, a cavalcade of cool kindie musicians like Mo Phillips, and, for real, a llama. At the end of the show I played a few songs then hauled out my drums to give kids a last chance to dance.