Zakir Hussain and Giovanni Hildago trading off at our gig last night! (click on brown link to watch short video)
Last night was the celebration of the late Olatunji’s birthday. I am not sure how old he would have been. He was a man who changed my life and helped inspire me as well as countless others in the field of percussion and beyond. I was grateful to be part of an evening of celebration in Olatunji’s honor last night at the Ashkanaz night club in Berkeley, California.
Our group, Rhythm Addicts started off the evening with a melodic bell arrangement and worked through a set of percussion based music led by Gabe Harris (son of Joan Baez). Out group includes to balaphone players, 2 dunun players, 2 djembe players, guitar, sax and harmonica as well as West African dancers and many friends sitting in.
To say this was an epic event would be putting it mildly. The club was packed and the music was electrifying. THe 2nd set started with Giovanni Hildago, Zakir Hussain and others in a free form jam. We were then invited to come up on stage and join in. I started on Shekere and then switched to djembe for the last 2 pieces.
At one point it was my teacher and friend Karamba Diabate on djembe trading licks with Giovanni Hildago. Simply put it was amazing. Ben Isaac’s an accomplished multi talented musician and djembe player in his own right was on stage as well as Wade Peterson and too many others to remember or mention right now as I am still a little cloudy from the late night!
I have to say I am incredibly grateful to Gabe Harris (joan Baez’s son) who ivited me to play with his group the Rhythm Addicts and also for the opportunity to play with som eof the best musical percussionists in the world last night!