fiyawata, a politically/spiritually aware hip-hop duet of Ambessa the
Articulate and Zakiya Harris with an extremely powerful, beautiful,
moving, inspiring, kick-ass cd (which we play everyday in our car ...
there is no higher praise!). so i knew it would be a good show. but
to be frank, singing along to recorded music (which i have done myself
a lot over the years) lacks usually a certain dimension.
They phoned before the show to say they were bringing their 4-month
old baby because they couldn't get a babysitter. They soon arrived with
the baby and a ready-made audience (they turned out to be so much more)
of four ... two guys and two gals. The first thing I noticed as they
sat on the floor was that all six of them took care of the baby ...
and for that matter of one another, in tune to what was needed. Before
we went on air, Zakiya breast fed the baby and passed the girl to a
pair of gentle hands. The show was on. In some ways even right from
the beginning of the show, the magic was very powerful, singing/creating
a more human[e] alternative of living together. But then the baby made
it known she wanted mom's tit, not the bottle. So, without missing a
beat, in the middle of a song, Zakiya took the kid to her tit, kept
singing/dancing, the kid in one arm, the mic in the other hand. A lot
of bands fall out of performance over a broken string or an out-of tune
fart. But here we were back into the tribal reality where music is just
a part of life, so that feeding the baby, holding her, was just a part
of the music, life. And the baby made it known she liked to dance! So
for most of the set, they held her as they rocked out. She may be in
the act from now on!
Then the other four began to be pulled into the performance [of course,
they/we in reality were always in the performance], revealing they are
incredible poets/performers/truth-tellers. They melted, flowed together...sometimes
one came into the foreground, but never with ego. Really the performance
was a complete whole being, not a series of songs...a tribe, a family,
not separate individuals. Both visually and energy-wise, things kept
blooming both inwardly and outwardly. Although we don't normally put
video of The Shaman's Den up on the site (just the audio usually), we
are putting the video of their music set up because it shows people
operating in deep love, enjoying being together, using that love and
that pleasure to change the world.
The "interview" afterward was really two tribal families of
the cultural underground coming together, sharing notes, talking about
concepts, experiences, language, etc. that both tribal bodies have come
to. Hey, there are other families like us! Hey, there are a lot of families
along the underground river!