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". www.sadza.net )