Wednesday, May 28, 2008


One of the many details that make the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market in San Francisco one of my favorites is all the street performers.  Banjo players, saxophonists, steel drummers, "stomp"-style percussionists, a typing poet, dancing singing accordion-player ~ you get it.  With the backdrop of the Bay, the Bay Bridge, families milling about eating good food and carrying fresh flowers, these performers and musicians add another sensory layer ~ another texture.  
Last time we were there, there was a group I'd never heard before playing variously-sized wooden xylophones (marimba) in intricate, repeating African melodies and rhythms.  They caught my attention.  Named Sadza, they were visiting from Santa Cruz, and I bought their CD.  It is all I have played this week. 
Based on the music of Zimbabwe, Sadza is layered and repeating.  It starts out with a simple line that builds to roundness with high melodies and low bass.  Repeating call and response, and the ever-dependable gourd shaker.  The sound is geometric and upbeat, but rarely frenetic.  It sings to me, happily, of a world that is simple, ordered and even-tempo-ed, deliberate, expected, sunny, colorful and beautiful.  As I go about my daily tasks, it soothes me, and my mind goes there to that place.

(Sadza is the name of Zimbabwe's traditional staple food, a maize porridge.  The title of the CD, Mukonde weSadza, means, "a serving of Sadza". )        

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