Today we have our first official Nile Project concert in Aswan at the Cultural Palace. We’ve been rehearsing 8 hours a day, learning backing vocal parts in 6 languages, writing songs, finding new tunings for all our instruments, understanding entirely different approaches to improvisation. This residency has been deep musical expansion time. I can’t wait to see how it all trickles into everything that we make and do.
It’s been blowing my mind to see all these ways of understanding sound trying to come into conversation with one another. I think the most beautiful part of it is how eager everyone here is to listen. To listen with kindness. Think about it. Imagine you are sitting with a friend, and you are having a conversation with them, and they are truly present with you. Doesn’t it change what you say? Cant you say more to them? This happens musically too. When you have ears that are listening with kindness, you also sing differently, play differently, with more of yourself.
For audiences, this means that you have immense power! You are the shape of the bowl that the sound pours into….. You influence musicians, and change the course of a show. I dont know if people know this. Maybe I knew it at one level, but it’s deeper now. Onwards to tonights show!!!!
Love Fatoumata Diawara! Saw her rock the stage at Zellerbach Hall this evening and man can this woman can sing. But my favorite part of the night was when she went through this particular 6/8 beat and showed how traditions from across the African continent dance to this rhythm. Congo, Ethiopia, Mali, Senegal, Saharan nomadic folks all express this 6/8 in different physical fluidity. But it wasnt just this light understanding of the dances. It was embodiment. Right on, Fatou. See you next time!
So I’m about 80% done writing a new album. This whole year, every show, we’ve been taking new songs out on the road, testing them, dressing arrangements up/down/sideways/backwards, and trying out forms. We’re really close. In fact, the big goal is to be all done writing and arranging by the end of May, which is both soon and totally possible. Yeah. Get ready.