Tuesday, February 12, 2008


My Wonderful Troupe!

I've found my guys here! Yay!

They ROCK! This is going to be such an amazing show! I have one kick ass ric guy, Hane, Mustafa Abbas on dahulla, bass drum and cymbal, Medhat and Bahe on simbati and of course Rami on riq, dof and tabla. Today we met and I started showing them Newbian and Maracatu. It’s different stuff for them, but they all get it, and it sounded soooo great after just the first meeting!

These guys are on time, they dress nice, they don’t ask to smoke cigarettes in the house, and best of all they don’t mind this pink lady telling them what to play! Oh, and did I mention, they are all hot?

The first official rehearsal will be on Saturday. I can’t wait.

I’m composing a new piece which I think is going to be the big hit of the concert. It’s called “Maksum Madness” and for this piece we will all play tabla in unison. The piece is crazy! I think I’ll save it till the end of the show.

My Class

We got upgraded to a bigger classroom because so many people signed up for my class. Now I’m up to 26 students! I think the word is spreading that they can get college credit for playing tabla!

I’m still in the stage of trying to tame them. Put 26 Egyptians in a boomy room and give them all drums, and good luck trying to run a class! But it’s getting better every day – there is less tapping going on while I’m trying to talk, ect.

I’ve started talking about chakras, channeling and meditation. I even started giving them one yoga posture a day. It does help your drumming to meditate and do yoga, so as far as I’m concerned it’s all related. I get some strange looks, but for the most part, they are interested.

Strange goings on in the hood

For the last couple days I’ve been seeing some strange things below my balcony.

Yesterday I went downstairs and it looked like someone had spilled an entire bucket of red paint on the tiles in front of one of the stores.

When I looked inside and saw a bunch of men chopping at some flesh on the floor inside, I understood. This was no paint, but BLOOD! It turns out that minutes before I came down the stairs, they had sacrificed some animal right there!

An hour later when I returned there was barely a trace of the violent act.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night barely able to breathe because of the strong smell of meat cooking (and it smelled fresh!) that penetrated my bedroom!

Then today I could barely get out into the street because of piles of fruit in front of the building! And they were bringing in huge speakers! When night fell, I noticed that they had strung colorful lights all over the street. They started blasting music from the speakers, and they set up chairs across from the fruit stand. Families came and sat down to listen to the music and smoke shisha. It was a hafla, right there in the middle of the street in front of my building!

I asked the baker what’s going on and he explained everything to me. All the above weirdness – the sacrifice, the lights, the music, the fruit – was in honor of a new fruit stand. This was the opening night, so the owners threw this party in order to get attention. And I imagine the sacrifice the night before was to bless the place.

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