Monday, 22 August 2005


As a surprise, I took mum (and Carey and Michelle) to see Wala, a traditional African dance and music group. Their performance was great fun. It was a mix of music - mostly percussion - singing, and dance. The whole performance was unflaggingly energetic and the artists' stamina was amazing. And they were obviously having a great time performing, themselves.

The coolest instrument was the aslato, or kashakas. Each aslato is a pair of wooden balls connected by a short string, which are filled with something (grain?) that rattles when shaken. So they make a rasping noise when shaken and a clacking noise when the balls collide. The guy who played them - one pair in each hand! - spun them around his hands and fingers in intricate patterns that you'd miss if you blinked for an instant, all the while singing and dancing. Very cool stuff.

If you're rich and idle, they run a workshop-resort in Ghana where you live in the group's community and learn drumming and dancing and stuff. It'd be fun to be able to go to something like that!

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