Friday, March 16, 2007

What an Opportunity

Friday night here. About to go to Pen'Art, the "jazz" club that I've heard singer-songwriter Souleymane Faye one night and a salsa band the other at so far. That is to say, I haven't heard any ding ding-a-ding drums, walking bass, comping piano, rhythm changes kind of jazz there. Nonethless, its called a jazz club. Yet another reminder that jazz is global, and means a lot of different things depending on who you're talking to and where you are. Habib Faye asked me to come down and sit in with him and Carlou, a local r 'n b singer who plays Friday nights at Pen"Art. So I'll go down there and see what happens.

Had my sixth sabar lesson today with the young mofo Malick Faye. Had planned to go hear the Sing Sing Juniors sabar program tonight in Medina, but was at a meeting with Habib and his manager Aziz Fall until late, so there's no time to catch the sabar program and go over and play at Pen'art. Tonight, modern music takes precedence over traditional music. But it was great to have that sixth sabar lesson today. Things are coming together slow-slow. I had mentioned in these pages that I thought it was easier to handle the sabar stick ("galan") then the smaller Mandinka stick. I'll have to re-tract that statement. Both are hard! I'll go for lesson #7 tomorrow and then catch their Saturday program tomorrow after our lesson.

The meeting with Habib and Aziz was for our Meet the Composer Project. We're at a bit of a crossroads, because the Meet the Composer grant just covered our plane tickets and living expenses here. There isn't money for artist fees, unfortunately, so we're trying to figure out how to work with some musicians with some serious budgetary restrictions. And what an opportuntity! Habib and Aziz have offered to hire the first-call musicians in Dakar for us and organize rehearsal space, studio time, etc. The thing is, we don't have a label budget behind us to make the most of this amazing opportunity. So I think the solution is just to lay the groundwork and come back another time with label support. Easier said than done, to be sure, but that's really what it's looking like. We shall see...

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