24 September, 2009

Just under the skin.

Stopping to mail postcards in Springbok, I could hear singing and drumming in the distance. The queue was short at the post office, and I walked out quickly to find where the music was coming from. Children and their teachers were playing drums and singing in the yard of a nearby elementary school. There was ululating, call and response, and layered thumps upon the taut skins of the drums. I ran up as close as I dared. This was not a public performance, so I didn't pull my camera from its place in my knapsack. The sounds elated and reminded me of sitting in drum class in Kinshasa. Of how to drop the hand for the affirming full sound, how to lean in on your other elbow to shift the voice of the drum. Done the right way, the hand doesn't hurt.

Done the right way, the music takes you to the forgotten places.

Near Cape Point, where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet.

Thank you to Jan van der Meer for making this video of the Khula Happy Zulu Singers. (For the best results, click on play, then click again to pause the video so that it can fully load. Give it a few minutes; watch the gray indicator's progress. This will allow for a smooth playback.)

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