Dear Viriditas Community,
Have there been moments in your life when you received some news that just plain made you shout with JOY? This week I received an email that started with the following words, “Congrats! Makorokoto! You have been accepted to perform on the afternoon stage at Zimfest 2016.”
I was sitting in my car waiting for my son, Josh, to join me so I could drive him to school as I read the email and as soon as I read the first sentence, I immediately shouted, “YES!” at the top of my lungs with explosive joy. Right at that moment, my son was getting into the car and asked what I was so happy about. Josh is a composer and saxophone player and we have always connected around our music. He gave me one of his heart-melting smiles and a high five and said, “Great, mom.” It is always a special treat for me when I impress my fourteen-year-old son!
As we were driving to school, I flashed back to the moment 8 years ago when the music of the marimba came into my life… One Saturday summer morning in 2008, I was at the Farmer’s Market in Boulder. I felt like a Mack truck had hit me. The grief my body was holding was so heavy I could barely breathe. And then I heard it: “da-da dink-dink dink-dink dink-dink da-dink-dink.” Music notes like little drops of joy were floating through the rays of Colorado sunshine, gently entering me, and I could feel myself begin to breathe more comfortably.
The sadness I had felt for years was lifting. Like a child following the Pied Piper of Hamlin, I followed the music until I found the marimba band Kutandara. I wanted to stay there forever just soaking in the Joy of the “inanimate objects that sing” (=marimba!).
And now, Titandare, one of the marimba bands I play with will be performing at the annual Zimbabwean Music Festival on August 14th in Monmouth Oregon! Our performance is part of a four-day annual festival which celebrates the music and culture of Zimbabwe. A fun-filled four-day weekend of concerts, workshops, community conversations, a marketplace and more, Zimfest is the largest annual gathering in North America of students, teachers, performers, and fans of Zimbabwean music. Zimfest 2016 will celebrate the theme “Sing-Dance-Play! Tambai Tambai! Dlala-Dlala!” In Zimbabwe you only need one word to say “Play (music)” or “Dance” or “Play (have fun)”: Tambai if you speak chiShona, or Dlala in isiNdebele. To find out even more about the Zimfest, check out the Zimfest website. (Click here to visit the Zimfest website.)
Here is one of the songs we sent in with our application. It is called Kuri Kwedu. The song tells us that “in the village even the old ladies ululate”. For those of you who do not know, to ululate is to “to make a long high sound with your voice as a way of expressing extreme happiness or extreme sadness.” One of the many gifts of my connection with African music is that it has given me the ability to express more powerfully my deepest of feelings. Here is Kuri Kwedu. Enjoy! (Click here to listen to Kuri Kwedu.)
If you would like to experience the joy of marimba music first hand, please come to the Shine Restaurant on Sunday, June 5th. Both Titandare and my other group Kutandara Repertoire will be performing as part of the Kutandara Annual Student Festival. The Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place is located at 2027 13th Street in Boulder. Each year Kutandara showcases their students, young and old alike, in an open house format in the community room at Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place. Each group performs the material on which they have been working over the course of the school year in 25-minute mini-concerts on the 1/2 hour. Come see me play! (Titandare plays at 1:30 and the Kutandara Repertoire plays at 2:30). Tickets are just $5 individual/$10 family and are available at the door.
There were also lots of shouts of joy at our monthly Tap Into Transformation. How I love starting out each month with this event. This month we danced to the fabulous and famous song called “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees. This is one of the songs that was used in the movie “Saturday Night Fever”. Yes, you guessed it, by the end of the evening we were all strutting around like John Travolta.
We had a heart-warming conversation after dinner about what makes each of us come alive. For some it is playing the marimba, for others it is tap-dancing, for some it is playing the ukulele or going to Colorado Rockies games (especially when they win!) For yours truly it is all of the above and more!!!
In closing, I would like to share some of my favorite words of St. Hildegard of Bingen. You know that energy of joy…that energy that makes us feel so alive…for me that energy is one of the qualities of God…here is one of the ways that St. Hildegard describes God:
I, the fiery life of divine wisdom,
I ignite the beauty of the plains,
I sparkle the waters,
I burn in the sun,
and the moon,
and the stars.
With wisdom I order ALL rightly.
Above ALL I determine truth.
How do you experience the fiery life of divine wisdom…aka JOY? I would love to know.