Back home I love playing a repenique or surdo drum, with Bristol Samba. They’re both played with sticks. Here I thought that I would enjoy playing a djembe using my hands. But I don’t. I like hitting things with sticks. I like the feeling of sticks.
When I was in Zimbabwe I was lucky enough to play a marimba with a master marimba player. Actually 7 master marimba players. At the beginning of the ‘lesson’, they played us a ‘tune’. I was very excited until they said they were going to play Phil Bloody Collins, “Another Day in
Hell Paradise”. Moans and groans from the UK contingent (all both of us). But it turns out that Phil’s a bleedin’ genius in the hands of a bunch of Zim marimba gods. It was sooo good, I almost rushed out and bought the original. Turns out they weren’t selling records – or anything else – locally. What a wonderful thing that music was. Beautiful harmonies. The bass marimba was so, um, deeply woody sounding, it was edibly good. I nearly requested “You can’t hurry love”.
So then I got my sticks with the soft bits on the end and was transported into a harmonious-woody-bouncy musical heaven. And I was ok at it too, for a beginner. You have no idea how stupidly happy I felt when the main man gave me a full African handshake and told me, ‘You’re good, girl.” He said I was good! It was the same as the moment when my most admired DJ once told me, with an eloquence that only a UK DJ could muster, ‘Um, yeah, nice mix’. At moments like those I worry that life can only go downhill thereafter.
Here, showing nothing informative at all, is a pic I really like of me playing the marimba, taken by Anna. My hands are the boney ones in the middle.