Sunday, August 13, 2006

Opened for SALIF KEITA last Thursday!

After a long build up of rehearsals, emails, costume hunting, excitement, and sleepless nights, we finally did it! What a magic night! Got there at 4pm to set up, meet Salif's wonderful musicians (SO excited to meet Ousmane Kouyate!), and compare notes about musicians in Paris that we co-knew. It made me nostalgic for my London days.

Their sound check went on a long time, so we ended up with about 8 minutes to get the sound right, then offstage, quick run up to check on the merchandise people, makeup, costume, and ON we went!

The show seemed to pass by in an instant. Despite restricted space, the short sound check, and only three rehearsals, compared to Salif's 40 show build-up, we put on a Great Show. The musicians were brilliant, the dancers on fire, our costumes were bright and dazzling, young 14 year old Senegalese tama prodigy Magatte Sow wowed everyone, and at the end of 45 minutes, we received a standing ovation. For an opening act, that ain't bad!

During the break, I tried to get to the merch booth, but didn't make it, given all the people coming up to congratulate me and say how much they had enjoyed the music. That felt amazing! I also introduced my husband and our two kids to Salif (who speaks Bambara, like my husband). When Salif met our son, Sundiata, he smiled broadly, as we named him after Salif's great ancestor, Sundiata Keita, the mighty king of Mali.

Salif's set was transcendently beautiful. I will never forget Ousmane Kouyate's solo ... so unhurried and tenderly brilliant.

Insert Very Happy Sigh here...