Recorded January 29, 2006
I booked fiyawata, a politically/spiritually aware hip-hop duet of Ambessa the Articulate and Zakiya Harris with an extremely powerful, beautiful, moving, inspiring, kick-ass cd (which we play everyday in our car ... there is no higher praise!). so i knew it would be a good show. but to be frank, singing along to recorded music (which i have done myself a lot over the years) lacks usually a certain dimension.
They phoned before the show to say they were bringing their 4-month old baby because they couldn't get a babysitter. They soon arrived with the baby and a ready-made audience (they turned out to be so much more) of four ... two guys and two gals. The first thing I noticed as they sat on the floor was that all six of them took care of the baby ... and for that matter of one another, in tune to what was needed. Before we went on air, Zakiya breast fed the baby and passed the girl to a pair of gentle hands. The show was on. In some ways even right from the beginning of the show, the magic was very powerful, singing/creating a more human[e] alternative of living together. But then the baby made it known she wanted mom's tit, not the bottle. So, without missing a beat, in the middle of a song, Zakiya took the kid to her tit, kept singing/dancing, the kid in one arm, the mic in the other hand. A lot of bands fall out of performance over a broken string or an out-of tune fart. But here we were back into the tribal reality where music is just a part of life, so that feeding the baby, holding her, was just a part of the music, life. And the baby made it known she liked to dance! So for most of the set, they held her as they rocked out. She may be in the act from now on!
Then the other four began to be pulled into the performance [of course, they/we in reality were always in the performance], revealing they are incredible poets/performers/truth-tellers. They melted, flowed together...sometimes one came into the foreground, but never with ego. Really the performance was a complete whole being, not a series of songs...a tribe, a family, not separate individuals. Both visually and energy-wise, things kept blooming both inwardly and outwardly. Although we don't normally put video of The Shaman's Den up on the site (just the audio usually), we are putting the video of their music set up because it shows people operating in deep love, enjoying being together, using that love and that pleasure to change the world.
The "interview" afterward was really two tribal families of the cultural underground coming together, sharing notes, talking about concepts, experiences, language, etc. that both tribal bodies have come to. Hey, there are other families like us! Hey, there are a lot of families along the underground river!