Jul 242012

Follow it. Be swayed by the Spirit of Compassion.

Mahee Aziz, a Sydney, Australian, who comes originally from Bangladesh, is at the moment globetrotting and bringing to the charmed eyes of mesmerized audiences the potent exoticism of three traditional and canonical, Subcontinental Indian dance forms: the Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam, and the North Indian style of Kathak.

And it is our City’s great good fortune that he is coming to Louisville.

Do, on that occasion, let this Pied Piper lead your heart away; and in the compassionate spirit for which deep and spiritual India is famous, turn out in support of the various charities and causes with which Aziz has involved himself: victims of AIDS, underprivileged children, and widows.

Aziz will be our revving up our cultural scene at a planned performance at Shine Wellness Studios on Saturday, July 28, at 7pm, as a second US stop following his scheduled performance at a medical conference in Washington, DC. At his own personal expense he has chosen Louisville as the venue for a benefit show he is putting on to raise money for the Bangladesh charity ‘Change the Lives,’ which is dedicated to helping underprivileged children in Bangladesh.

Let’s not let him make the pilgrimage to our Kentucky land without the welcome and support both his art and this cause deserve. Let’s not disappoint his anticipation of open hands and hearts, and properly wowed eyes and ears, among all us Louisville residents he has come to enchant. For gosh sakes, let’s not send him away empty-handed!

Even more in Bangladesh than in India, where the caste system remains prevalent, the cause of underprivileged children seems to resonate with special urgency among the more elite and middle-classes. Most professional and successful from Bangladesh know personally or are even related to someone who lives amid a level of poverty that makes our own homegrown variety look lavish by comparison. They seem unable to turn away from what they cannot help but see; and I just feel sure Louisvillians will not turn a blind eye to this ambassador of charity, either, when he comes bringing to our own attention his message of human need.

A lot of people in Louisville still may not suspect the size and strength of the transplanted Indian culture that flourishes here in our own community. I’m not sure whether there’s a Kuchipudi instructor in Louisville yet or not – but one can find out on August 18! – because that is India Day at the Belvedere – an event which will be sponsored by ICF (the India Community Foundation) and that promises to be something special.

For sure there will be displayed to the rapt gaze an evocative sampling of the wealth and variety of the timeless magic of Indian dance. My own impression is that the opportunities to see and learn (about) Subcontinental dance forms here in Louisville are equally rich and vibrant as what is being done by our justly-celebrated local dancers who engage in the teaching and performance of Flamenco and Middle Eastern bellydance. Come see what you think.

The Subcontinental dance forms that are currently on the menu in Louisville, complete with instructors, such that anyone can try their hand (and sinuously willowy arms and torsos) at these most magical and mysterious of artistic traditions, are: (and please to imagine in your mind’s ear at this point that light, bonking-sounding, Indian tympanum drumbeat, instead of a Western drum-roll) — Bharatanatyam; Kathak; and of course the infectiously exuberant, contemporary ‘Bollywood’ style.

Since the Kuchipudi tradition is the least-represented here in LV so far, Aziz’ upcoming visit gives us all a chance to catch it live, on the wing. This South Indian dance, from the State of Andhra Pradesh, is the Subcontinental dance form that perhaps a lot of people most think of when they think of Indian dance.

Bharatanatyam, from Tamil Nadu, which is the most likely traditional form of Indian dance, is not dissimilar — the main difference between Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi being that the former has more sculptured and dramatic poses; while Kuchipudi employs more rounded ones, especially with regard to the legs. The Kuchipudi tradition is known for incorporating dancing with, and on, a metal plate called a Tarangam.

Bharatanatyam dancers can be both female or male, resplendent in multi-colored garb and ornamental facial jewelry, executing dance movement that is demarcated by lots of dramatic pauses. It is also this form that is so marked by those characteristic head, neck , and eye movements – those ‘slidey’ gestures they do from the neck up, that seemingly ‘leave their bodies behind,’ in tandem with those signature snaky, waving arms – surely everyone’s idea of the world’s most exotic form of dance.

In terms of the dances’ cultural subtext of associated meaning, Kuchipudi may have more religious connotations with connections to the earth & God, while Bharatanatyam might be more about expressing the inner fire within the dancer’s body.

But speaking of fiery inner expressiveness – love that Bollywood!, which is of course that most exuberant, contemporary , and fully cosmopolitan expression of modern India in dance. We’ve all (I hope) seen it performed in movies and on TV – where you often see it being done in line-dances, or by large groups of dancers; far and away the most nontraditional Indian dance form, it gets people (whole crowds of dancers) self-expressively ‘jumping,’ in masses of seductively graceful, synchronization — seemingly an urban phenomenon (after all, India is a hugely populous place) – and just that much reminiscent of those Hollywood movie extravaganza dance-productions from about the 1930s.

It is (or seems to me, at least) the most seamless adaptation of ancient cultural modes into up-to-the-minute, international modernity that one could have imagined.

As for Kathak tradition, it’s a real border-hopper: Persian-influenced, it may in turn have had an influence on Flamenco, via Gypsies from Rajastan.

But let’s be a bit more thorough about this: there are eight classical dances in India, of which Bharatanatyam is the oldest. (So old, in fact, I find I can’t dig up any definite date of origin, so far does it go back). It’s agreed, though, that at its center is that expression of the fire element. (And of course the most ancient Indian religious texts center on Vedic Fire Sacrifice.) Kuchipudi, a relative youngster, was only (‘only’) founded in the 7th c. AD, by Brahmins – and can be traced to the village by that name, in the State of Andhra Pradesh. Kuchipudi dance was originally male-only – and that for the longest time – but somewhere along the line our Subcontinental sisters successfully infiltrated and are now possibly in the majority. There is even a ‘gender-bending’ form of Kuchipudi, in which the men execute the dance’s characteristically feminine forms, and vice versa. Kuchipudi has traditionally been used as an individual way to express oneself spiritually; or it can be used theatrically, to tell a story.

And, there is ‘country,’ rural, as opposed to a ‘city’ form of Kuchipudi. The rural: rawer, more primal-looking; the classical (citified) version: cleaner – gentler, more refined. (Sort of the same as if you were to compare the banjo in its ‘city’ and ‘country’ forms, as those were represented in early American musical tradition – if that is not too awful a thing to do – one being Tin Pan Alley, and the other, Dock Boggs). I saw a link to the country version of Kuchipudi in which the male dancer was wearing a mask-cum-head-covering kind-of-a-deal – and out of an adjunct to the whole thing – streamed water. And, in a depiction I saw of the classical version, there was a male dancer dressed as half-man, half-woman: moustachioed on one side of his face; made up with make-up on the other.

And – lest we think that Bollywood style is the only one that puts armies of dancers into the field – there was a world’s record set on December 23, 2010, for the largest number of Kuchipudi dancers ever to perform at the same time: 2,800, at a stadium in Hyderabad, the Andhra Pradesh capital.

The Indian style of music that accompanies these Indian dances in all their forms is uniformly what is termed ‘Carnatic’ (or, simply, Indian) music.

All those people, virtually uncountable numbers, who’ve moved to it and danced to it, through so many centuries.

Follow its drumbeat, and follow your heart. And mark your calendar for July 28th.

Nov 212010

[Note – this post helps to commemorate the great Hindu year-end celebration of Diwali, which was last Saturday, on the 13th. Diwali – their Festival, or ‘Row,’ of Lights – is sometimes compared to the Western Christmas and indeed uses Christmas lights (as well as, as with us, the eating of too many sweets). It celebrates Lord Rama’s return and vanquishing of the forces of Evil, after a 14-year exile.]

At the risk of never again being taken very seriously, I will tell you I attended two children’s dance recitals in the last two months as a way to check out, and, yes, support, Indian Dance in Louisville. However, the punch line is that some of these children are very professional and beautiful performers. Adults, no matter how good, couldn’t hope to match them for charm and precociousness.

Some of these kids are so good — and the choreography & teaching behind them likewise — that my mind still chews on the memories like termites – leftover figments still repeating like projected film loop in my brain.

Memory has selected certain favorites from the two recitals — a Kathak (North Indian) recital under the direction of Meena Deshpande (wow! kudos are really called for here – real artistry was attained in this performance) at the Speed early in October; and a Telugu (South Indian) concert that not only included kids’ dancing, all ages, at Ballard High, but Doctor(s) & other professionals singing their Bollywood favorites at ‘Ballywood High,’ at the end of October. (For this latter effort, there were several choreographers who had taught the children, but I am indebted for my invitation to attend to Ms. Vindhaya Katta.)

Here, then, some of the personal highlights for Yours Truly:

Two kids mimicking sylvan statues like Hawthorne’s Marble Fawns with little pastoral female dancers sashaying around them. (Telugu — Ballard High)

A Kathak number where the dance mimicked the movements of a rowboat (Kathak — Speed)

A Kathak number where the dance mimicked the movements (& sounds) of a train (the train — that iconic engima of music itself!) (Kathak — Speed)

The most touching number of the Kathak recital was a homemade film that had a shot of each kid/performer (including the only boy there — the one who played Ganesh) that highlighted some special aspect of the child’s individual personality.

The story of Ganesh with a little plump kid running around in an elephant mask surrounded by dancers (Kathak — Speed)

Little cute kids between 3-6, with one frozen cutely in stage fright (Little Angels Routine — Telugu — Ballard High)

Brindavanam — choreography by Supriya Kancharla – a prizewinner (Telugu — Ballard High)

The beautiful and poignant Nachale’s Love choreographed by Vindhaya Katta (Telugu — Ballard High)

A country-inspired number with kids in cowboy hats (Telugu — Ballard High)

The Telegu celebration placed me amid the Kentuckiana Indian immigrant community, high times and a big night for aspiring kids and grown-ups not just carrying on their native traditions, including numerous folk dances on traditional themes, but also incorporating that wholly contemporary and international ‘Bollywood’ spin in the interpretation that lately has made Indian drumming, music, dance, and song meld so seamlessly into what strikes us as totally international and ‘modern,’ and which defines the scintillating Indian niche in modern pop culture – but which one can see, from events like these, is inspired by ancient elements of an ancient cultural scene.

The folks at Ballard High rolled out the red carpet for us non-Indians who came to share their family/cultural event, national food, exquisite native dress, and bilingual spirit: cheering and participation from the audience were de rigeur all evening, and as often we were addressed in their native language as in English.

A defining moment was when the emcee spoke to one young dancer in their native language, and the boy hesitated, just a moment while he translated it in his head, before answering in English — whereupon the adult, realizing the child was more English-fluent than Telugu-fluent, switched to heavily-accented English as well. This brought home to me how great a degree this event captured a moment in this community’s history when it is changing – Westernizing – once and forever: almost faster than they themselves can keep up.

An honored guest of the Telegu evening was a child-star genius who has had a string of guest appearances on national TV talk shows, performing mental feats like defeating panels of noted college professors on his favorite intellectual subjects – a kid the MC characterized as half a descendant of one Indian subculture; half from another – ‘and 100% American!’

These people seemed flatly overjoyed to be joining in American life – and so infectious was their joy and the beauty and charm of their native culture, I was overjoyed about it, too.


Star bright,

First star I see tonight . . .

The first star one ever sees – the one that rises into one’s own childhood memories – is inevitably the one that always will shine the brightest in that individual’s heart. The adults who are working so hard to pass on the culture that shone for them, in India growing up, are making sure that same star shines for the new generation in America – alongside the other, newer, American star that will also shine for these children, here.

Filmmaker Martin Scorsese has done a collection of his favorite (vintage) Italian films, with personal narration (called My Voyage to Italy), in which he tells us that these were the films that struck him as being bigger than life, more richly mythic and magical than anything he, as a kid growing up, ever saw on this side of the Atlantic, in real life – and that they – these movies – that were watched at the time by no one else in the US except the Italian immigrant community – were what, combined with the American experience, gave him his love for film, his filmic vision – that, in a word, made Martin Scorsese Martin Scorsese.

So I wonder which of the kids I saw up there at these recitals (apart from the young genius, who we know is a rising star), nurtured on Indian art forms, might one day turn out, on the Scorsese model, to be a great creative force in American/International Dance?

The moment when the torch is passed, and cultural streams crossed and cross-pollinated, is a glorious but all-but invisible one – one that takes place largely unnoticed, limitedly celebrated – at events like an immigrant community’s recitals for its children.

What we see around us all the time are the realizations of American Dreams; American’s Dreams — the American Dream. But the essence of a Dream is that it’s not real yet. And that is what I attended on those two occasions, this past month: Dreams not yet but maybe one day coming, true.

Alright, enough of that.

Sep 302010

What a busy weekend this past for Worldbeat events in Louisville — that is three in row!  Here is a summary of what happened in LoV — (the city of LoV) — none of these events, I should mention, were reported in my recent post on upcoming events:

James Joyce, Brendan Behan, William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett, Frank McCourt, Guinness Book of World Records, ‘points’ of Guinness, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Irish Coffee, Irish Mist, Irish Spring, potatoes, more potatoes, even more potatoes, potato pancakes, ‘biled’ potatoes, Diddley Dee Potatoes, ‘biled’ cabbage breakfast rolls, ‘Carned’ Beef & Cabbage Patch Kids, Irish Stew, Mulligan Stew, salted ‘biled & fried, Lucky Charms — ‘they’re magically delicious’, Shamrocks, Shamrock Shakes, anything green, red hair & freckles, BlackIrish, ashtrays, ashtrays filled with candy, Irish Harps, Irish Flutes, Uilleann pipes, Irish step-dancing, Irish fiddle – help!, U2, Sinnead O’Connor, the Irish Gambit, The Cranberries, Thin Lizzy, Eleanor McEvoy, Rory Gallagher, The Corrs, The Pogues, Enya, Clannad, The Chieftains, Irish Ballads — cupping one’s ears, The Irish Tenors, Riverdance, Van Morrison, Maxi Dick & Twink (not a gay band),  Boyzone (a gay band), ‘The Wexford Carol’, ‘Christmas In Kilarney,’ Lotto Tickets, Irish Jockeys, gambling, horse racetrack gambling, greyhound racetrack gambling, betting on boxing, betting on tug o’war, Pot O’Gold, Gaelic football, hurling, hurling after drinking, Leprechauns, Evil Leprechauns, caubeens, shillelaghs, four-leaf clovers, rainbows, luck o’the Irish, Blarney Stones, a ‘cam’ day, a windy day, a muddy day, an Irish spring, Irish Spring, unibrows, St. Columba, Boondock Saints, Jim Sheridan, Neil Jordan, and lots & lots of endless yammer – (pant, pant) — were just some of the smorgasbord of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, one could catch at Irish Fest, held this past weekend at Bellarmine University. (Why am I being so hard on the Irish? — I have Irish blood — and I love it; however, also have Scottish blood which means that I have to make fun of it; which is ironic because they are more alike than different.):

Irish Fest 2010 #1
Irish Fest 2010 #2
Irish Fest 2010 #3
Irish Fest 2010 #4
Irish Fest 2010 #5
Irish Fest 2010 #6
Irish Fest 2010 #7
Irish Fest WS

Dr. Ram Deshpande played at the Hindu Temple Hall Saturday night @ 4213 Accomack Drive — which translates in Louisville terms as, ‘That’s way the hell out’ — at least for a biker like myself. According to his WS, he is the Mehfil of Indian Classical and Semi Classical Vocal Music (Khyal, Thumari, Natyasangeet, Bhajan). Traditional Indian Classical Singing is guttural, blues-like, hypnotic, & monotonous (in a good way), and isn’t similar to throat –singing, vocal-wise, but captures the same primeval spirit:

Dr. Ram Deshpande WS
Dr. Ram Deshpande Mahadeva -Raag Bahaduri Todi
Dr. Ram Deshpande Receives Award w/ Quick Bio
Dr. Ram Deshpande Official Bio
79 Min Video of Indian Classical Singing

Event: Vietnamese Divas – When: This Past Sunday — On the Riverboat @ Horseshoe Casino in Elizabeth IN.

After listening to as much Vietnamese pop as would make me want to surrender for war crimes that were committed before I was born, am a little disappointed that most of the Vietnamese pop (although largely sung in Vietnamese) seems to mostly eradicate (with the exception of a few performers & songs) the rising & falling, tonal threnody that is unique to the Vietnamese language — instead retaining an English monotone. Don’t understand the reasoning for that. But sarcasm & personal tastes aside, it is much fun to be around in the company of others and share their enthusiasm.

Something big came & went to/from the Louisville Area Sunday night — imagine the biggest names in female pop coming to Louisville in one night. Except there was a catch — they are the biggest names in Vietnamese Pop and had come to the Horseshoe Casino. This may seem surprising, but the Horseshoe Casino, where, from what I understand, several Vietnamese are on staff/involved, showcases Vietnamese entertainers from time to time – a significant part of the Vietnamese community’s presence here.

Apropos the divas: huge Brittany Spear-status in their own country, but here living a life of anonymity — no one realizes they’re famous except other Vietnamese. Little Saigon in Westminister, CA, is the hub of where many go to live the American Dream, almost like seeking fame & fortune in ,…, Vietnam without having to live there. Sappy & saccharine in English is exactly the same as in Vietnamese. Virtually all of the world’s Vietnamese music is produced in a dozen or so recording studios along Bolsa Avenue.

Some of the best of the Vietnamese pop I heard is (while admittedly a little saccharine, perhaps) nonetheless smokier than its American counterpart. In America, from one commercial generation to the next, all trace of the previous generation may become extinct when the artist is no longer commercially viable; however, one can still hear distinct traces of Madonna, Aretha, and even Julie London in Nguyễn Hồng Nhung’s Gloomy Sunday track listed below. Some of it is undeniably sappy, American Idolish, inducing (as I said) one to want to confess to crimes they did not commit, or regret not bombing Canada for creating Celine Dion — but I tried not to include more of those tracks than necessary — because I (sob!) love you too much, dear readers. I will say German early-90’s pop band Boney M is a big influence on a lot of these pop artists; there is even a male singer who has adopted the name ‘Boney M’ for himself. My favorite Vietnamese pop is when they actually incorporate native Vietnamese music – now we’re getting somewhere.

Many of the performers, including the host, are part of the hugely popular Paris By Night video & concert series. (In fact, many of the performers & the host are part of the original Paris By Night Series.) This Diva’s concert at the Horseshoe Casino Riverboat is essentially an official Paris By Night Concert (the poster doesn’t make that clear, but online does), only without the men. Paris By Night is also modern-day vaudeville/variety show– combining music, sketch comedy, with other forms of entertainment thrown in. Paris By Night seems to be on the surface like fluffy, vapid pop — but if only Brittany Spears were that deep (meaning that, because of the singers’ controversial policies on the Vietnam war – i.e., pro-American, pro-Democratic, anti-Communist, anti-war in general, according to Wikipedia — the series is banned in Vietnam — so their videos & DVDs can only be obtained via the black-market. (But I bet that was before Amazon.vn.)

Nguyễn Hồng Nhung — First Vietnamese singer to be involved in a sex scandal — which helped her to sell more records in Vietnam and within Vietnamese Communities around the world. Listening to all this gluck makes one think maybe we won the war in Vietnam after all.:

Dem Mua – Nguyễn Hồng Nhung & Thuy Huong

Gloomy Sunday – Nguyễn Hồng Nhung

Sac Mau – Nguyễn Hồng Nhung

Want to know some of the Western Artists that influenced Vietnamese pop — then listen to Thanh Hà who seems to have done more covers than anyone else I’ve listened to.   She is known for dueting with Don Hồ (not the Hawaiin Don Ho, but a Vietnamese singer of the same name) (September 1997) in the late ninties.  Thanh Hà and Don Hồ along with fellow pop singers Bé Tí, Khánh Hà, Trần Thu Hà, Adam Hồ, Long Hồ, Ngọc Huệ Thái Hiền should form their own group to become Hà, Hà, Hà, Hồ, Hồ, Hồ; & Ti, Huệ Hiền.:

Vi Do La Em — Thanh Hà & Don Hồ

Ru Long Kho Dai — Thanh Hà

Lien khuc lam tho tinh — Thanh Hà & Nhat Trung

Thanh Hà singing pieces of several Boney M (including Rasputin!), Bobby Hebb & other’s hits without stopping

Celine Dion’s Power of Love — Thanh Hà

Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive (The Power of Love!?!?)

I’ve listened to Lưu Bich & listened to Lu’u Bich, and son of a bitch, am unable to come up with any impression of her as an artist, or as a person, whatsoever. I don’t think it’s because she is an enigma or mysterious, but rather because she is very doll-like and is singing stuff that really isn’t deep or new, and for that reason alone, Lu’u Bich should not be confused with Ernst Lubitsch, director of Heaven Can Wait & Ninotchka.  Once again, she did not direct those films.:  

Lưu Bich WS

Trai Tim Lao — Lưu Bich & the Saigonese Band

Xa em ky niem — Lưu Bich & Nguyen Hung

Chiec bong mong manh (w/ the movie Pearl Harbor as a backdrop — wrong war!) — Lưu Bich & Khanh Ha

Paris By Night Concert Live in St. Louis — Lưu Bich & Minh Tuyết.

Minh Tuyết was one of the most popular singers featured in the Paris By Night — their Brittany Aguilera.– series. When searching for female pop stars, I stumbled upon this forum in which the dirt on Vietnamese Celebrities was, like totally, spilled, such as: Nha Thanh is very hien (meek/gentle/virtuous), reserved, and educated; then there’s, Tu Quyen: cutest girl EVER! Take that girlfriend. Anyway, there was dirt on Ms. Tuyết — she has a fake marriage!:

‘My ex used to drink coffee with the guy married to Minh Tuyết. She married him and came to America. They lived together but never really had anything going on. Supposedly she is dating some ugly gangster guy.’

On this forum, the word chanh was used to denote a negative or a flaw in someone’s personality or not being nice; it could mean either:

chanh — lemon squash/lemonade
chành — open wide; one’s mouth
chánh — head; chief; sprig; twig
chạnh — to be affected by some melancholy feeling

Thankfully, Ms. Tuyết isn’t chanh, although her taste in men might be.

Anyway, despite the linguistic stew invoked by her name, she seems like a lovely girl and I encourage one to read the LA Times article on her which details the success & struggle of a Vietnamese Pop Idol, which is better than anything I could write.:

Thầm Gọi Tên Anh-Minh Tuyết
Đã Không Yêu Thì Thôi – Minh Tuyết (catchy)
Đừng Giấu Trong Lòng – Nguyen Thang & Minh Tuyết

I’m Sorry — Minh Tuyết
Minh Tuyết Offical WS
LA Times article on Minh Tuyết
Minh Tuyết Wiki-wiki-pedia

Mai Thiên Vân — best known for duets with Vietnamese Pop Sensation — Quang Lê & others, more than her solo efforts — or at least it appears that way because the clips I could find of hers were with others.:

Tân cổ áo mới cà mau – Phi Nhung, Mai Thiên Vân

Ca Si — Mai Thiên Vân
Gõ cửa Trái Tim (Quang Lê – Mai Thiên Vân)
LK Tuổi Học Trò — Mai Thiên Vân & Quỳnh Dung

Something seems to set apart Tâm Đoan from the other fish in the coral that Vietnamese Divas. I am not familiar with Vietnamese folk music, but she seems to incorporate what could be said to be folk music into her pop, and she seems to take some artistic risk. I seem to enjoy her pop the most, as she is unique.

Mua Dong Hoa Trang (House of Flying Daggers) — Tâm Đoan
May Chieu — Tâm Đoan (has the Vietnamese Tonal threnody)
Som Chong — Tâm Đoan (w/ Bagpipes & Irish instruments)

Tâm Đoan’s WS
Tâm Đoan’s Wiki-wiki-wikipedia
Nguyễn Ngọc Ngạn is more than just the Ed Sullivan of the Travelling Vietnamese pop idols. Despite his youthful appearance, he is 66, a survivor of the Vietnam War (was a POW in the hands of the Communists & lost his wife & child trying to escape) – is an activist & author (best known for his 1982 bio The Will of Heaven). He lives in Toronto.:

Hat — Nguyễn Ngọc Ngạn (sings!)
chém gió — Nguyễn Ngọc Ngạn
Nguyễn Ngọc Ngạn’s wiki-wiki-Wikipedia

Nguyễn Ngọc Ngạn isn’t the only source of testosterone at this event — The Strikers are the male tokens here. I cannot find anything online about them — however I would assume that the foursome pictured on the poster are composed of former Paris By Night stars.

Two upcoming events include a local Kathak Recital to be held by local instructor Meena Deshpande at the Speed Art Museum on October 3rd from 3-5, and of course, the annual didgeridoo exhibition at the St. James Art Fair, to be held this upcoming weekend. There is an annual presentation of Didgeridoos next weekend.

Kathak Recital Announcement

Article on Meena Deshpande & her students

The Shawnee Lodge Masonic Hall on the South End almost right across from the recently-abandoned Kenwood Drive-In; this hall seems to rent out to African immigrant musicians for dances & private jams. It may be safe to say if you are adventurous and you wandered in there on a Saturday night — chances are there might be something very African & very Steppenwolf-like to greet you. I attended a Liberian dance there in June, and there was a Somali rap concert held in the Hall two weeks ago (or if I’m happen to be mistaken — it was really close by). These are the events I knew about — but am sure there have been others. There will be another Somali Rap concert held around the end of the year. Hope to have more info about the concert in that time period. These Somali immigrants are somewhat different than the Somali-Bantus I had written about last spring — these are native Somalis. I felt less than completely satisfied with that particular post because I felt that there were things missing. Now I know why – will make up the deficit soon.

Alright, enough of that.