Sunday, February 15, 2009

Inside the Rhythm 12/28/08

Music go ... Breathe. Close eyes. Open eyes ... Dramatic pause ... Clear throat.

From a garden of extremes grows the most beautiful and wild flowers. Dragons snapping at Venus while she places gardenias in her hair. Everything smells buttery and sweet. Honeybees fly thru soft fire heating porridge. I run thru the garden everyday. Today I will walk slowly, take my time, and notice everything. I have two days left in Ghana.

When I heard the first broom today, I smiled and opened my eyes. Five more would follow. A face for each one. At this house, the women wake the dawn. Lights go. The carpenter plays the first break to call in the rhythm. The choir congregates on the bench under my window. Two sets of twins were already there. Girl, boy, boy girl. Little black stars twinkling and trickling in. One set is 8 years old. They're little brother and sister are 6. Same mother. They rub the top of my hand to say "Hi".

PhotobucketTwins. (Accra, Ghana 2008)

The sun has not made it all the way up yet. Stools rumble. The cheifs begin to move in whispers. A squeaking door, a nail clinks a pipe, then scratches. A plastic bucket bangs against the side of the well. Vocals go. "Kwe!" The bells have entered. They usually come first, but today the second drum called his third daughter first. She was then given permission to knock and enter. She plays the most high pitched bell. When the sun is all the way up her father will be the loudest. Percussion cue. Sound of a war drum.

A clap. A spanking switch playing tradition on the bench. The oldest girl twin scolds her brother. She's the boss. I bet he was born first. If the bell gets off then the entire rhythm falls apart. There are two. The niece/third daughter and the nephew. The fourth and fifth daughter join the choir. They lead the vocal warm-up because they're older than all the sets of twins. A sneeze ... Another dramatic pause, then ... slow motion, two Sirens giggle in. The third will come later. She's the Beyonce. A soloist struggling to play herself down for the sake of the ensemble.

Crossfade ... amber wash downstage right. The sun has risen higher. The carpenter begins to play louder. He and his brother (the second drum) build the conversation in their banter. Flip flops drag the rattles closer. A train is passing far away. She sounds her horn. I know she is well. Better than she was when she lived here. They stand back and watch her blaze past. They hope she'll look back over her shoulder and give them a nod just one last time. She doesn't. Their hearts are broken. All that's left is a trail of smoke. No one got hurt. They wait for the next one. (R.I.P. Alicia).

Tin plates clatter. The fossit is on. The mother calls in the third Siren. (Call) "Kwe Aranya!" (Response) "Yes Ma!" begins the song. The first two Sirens salute. A first born son struts into the yard. The choir begins to sing. They have trouble finding the harmonies, but end up making it work.

PhotobucketSirens. (Accra, Ghana 2008)

(Call) "Akushia!", (Response) "A 'pa!". The carpenter is conducting. Both brothers rock fisherman hats. The second drum is growing louder. A door slams ... something about Circle in the phone call. The first visitor arrives. The rhythm gets caught in a plate. Hand signals say more than I understand. I will go and come because I have learned plenty about increasing the volume small.

I like! I like! I like YOU! Ampey is in the street. Decrescendo. Spotlight. (Larium, liquor, and too much direct sunlight to the dome have made me a poet on myspace. lol).

(Greeting) "Obibini!" (Call) "Can I buy a big, Voltic water?" (Response) "80 paysways." The third drum comes in. He has seniority. Ampey is in the house. Running Flick. Laughter Flick. A plastic toy gun with a golden barrel is the prize. Possession is the most blinging bullet. (Call) Bang!

(Response) Kwe! The spirit enters the third Siren. She begins to weep in a hum. The niece/third daughter and nephew come forward with the bells. The third Siren disappears. It's time to dress her. The choir picks up notepads to improvise a sound scape. The drummers fall back and wait. Smack! The second spirit enters the second Siren. The first Siren calls the third. Boom. Knock out at Green Hand Junction! The spirit of an angry slave to the British enters the youngest boy twin. The third Siren returns dressed in blue and white cloth. She begins her solo. The garden bubbles and bursts. A perfectly organized orchestra pit in the middle of the most proper moments of hood behavior. Both house and field pulsate as the stick hits the drumskin. Every beat is precise. Fa Diggie Doo Doo! Wop! Wop! It's almost tomorrow and the day has just begun.

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