Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Of Aztecs and didgeridoos

On Saturday, I dragged Jeff and Mum down to Salem to the World Beat Festival. I was a woman with a mission. First, I wanted some new ethnic instruments, and this festival is a great place to buy instruments. Second, I wanted a skirt and blouse that would make me feel pretty and still be comfortable. Plus, I wanted to indulge in some funky world beat music experiences.
So off we went.
The day was a little warm, but quite perfect for the occasion. The venue is the Riverfront Park, which I would love to show you in photos only I ran out of battery. Or rather, my camera did. It is gorgeous, overlooking the wide, flowing Willamette River, which is spanned by several bridges and flanked with trees. I spent some time ogling various offerings from the many vendors. Bamboo outdoor screens and furniture, tatami purses, flowing clothes from India and Africa, garden art and indoor art and instruments galore! I bought four little maracas from Peru and a drumhead from Africa. 
Then Jeff said No More Shopping
What would you like to do? I said sweetly. Listen to music?
Listening to music it was. 
First off, the Aztec Dancers.
My goodness, their costumes were astounding, their head dresses extreme.
Downright studly, if you ask me.
Then we entered the tent where the Zimbabwe Music Workshop was being held.
I have a fondness for music from Zimbabwe.
Marimba bands, don'tcha know?
Plus, I love typing "Zimbabwe".
The great Musekiwa Chingodza, straight from Zimbabwe, accompanied by Bud Cohen, played their mbiras and taught us a couple of "call and response" songs. I had a blast, passing out my newly acquired instruments so that we could jam as well as sing. We sang and sang and played and played, until Jeff had had enough and left to get some lunch. Mum would have left too, but her favourite daughter was still jammin' so she stayed till the bitter end. 
I will spare you from the video.
Just know that it exists.
Those big round things are resonators for the mbiras.

Next, to the Asian stage, where these gorgeous young things were getting ready to dance. Mum and Jeff were very taken with them...
...and I must admit that I liked the dancing more than I expected.
It is very precise and visually appealing.
I set off to find the didgeridoo.

But I kept bumping into these two.
Yes, those are drawn (tattooed?) stocking lines on the back of her very white legs.
Then I found him.
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Jake Duncan, Didgeridoo artist extraordinaire.
He was sitting on the grass under a tent, surrounded by four enormous didgeridoos. I was blown away by his playing, I had no idea that the instrument was so versatile. Didge players use circular breathing and can sustain continuous playing for some time. Wikipedia has an entertaining and informative article on the instrument, if you're curious. I sat in the shade and listened to him until he took a break, then I ran off to the next arena to find Hubby and Mum. You've got to hear this, I told them, so they trotted along after me. 

Sadly, he ran out of time and didn't play again.
Happily, I had thought to buy a CD before they disappeared.

Jeff was getting grumpy.
Mum was tired and hungry.
I wanted to stay till it eleven.

Grumpy and Tired won the day, so we went home.

I made them listen to the didgeridoo all the way home.

And I told them that next year I'm going with my friends.

What about the outfit, you ask?
Success is measured in very small doses around here!
Wanna come next year?


  1. I want to come next year! Did you see any vuvuzelas?

  2. Funny, I had never seen that word until today and now I've seen it twice. No. They sound really annoying!

  3. What a fun thing to go to. I love the didgeridoo!

  4. Beautiful pics Sue. Very cosmopolitan place there it seems

  5. Wow, such fun! Wade and I would like to come to Oregon, we have talked about it for years. Now we know people who know all the fun places to see and do, we may just come...after all the grandbabies come of course. Would you recommend June or July? Is that shirt one you bought at the festival before Jeff became a wet blanket shopper? It is very becoming!!

  6. What a fun cultural experience! I would love to go with you next year! I really like the didgeridoo. I have heard it before and I like the sound, but he did add something new to it. Very entertaining!

  7. Deb, the weather in July is more reliable, although hotter. If you wanted to go to certain events, you could probably Google Portland area and see a calendar of happenings. And yes, I bought the outfit before shopping was banned!Nicole and Ellen, it's a date. I will give everyone plenty of warning.

  8. sounds fun! count me in next year!

  9. I do! I want to come next year! I never heard of the didgeridoo until today! What an amazing feat, to be able to play such a thing. My lipstick would never survive. I LOVE your outfit, Sue! Marvelous!

  10. I am SO jealous!!! That sounds like so much fun! By the way I LOVE the didgeridoo - we own two and Paul can actually play pretty well :-) The circular breathing thing is pretty tricky for me though. If I am ever there again when the festival is happening I am so going! Oh - and tell Mom about it - she and Dad would love to go next time. :-D