Sunday, December 6, 2009

No where else

I have been mourning my friend Maze a lot lately. It has been a very private, difficult thing.

Because none of my family ever knew him. They never got to meet him or hear him play his drum, or see the gentle beauty of his soul.

The other day I was driving to work listening to my field recordings from Mali. I have one, in particular, that is a recording of Sidy teaching Maze a song he wrote.

There I was, on a beautiful sunny day, listening to this sweet music, which brought me back, instantly, to the courtyard of our house in Mali, with Maze and his gorgeous new drum. I could not hold back the tears.

Maze died in late May, and by June I was working at an incredibly demanding job. And I didn't get to go to any kind of funeral or memorial event. And I didn't get to really talk about it with anyone. And even when I did, it really didn't help. Because there is no help for a loss like this. And really, no one wants to talk about someone else's grief, do they? This is a sadness that I carry alone.

So I write on this blog, which really no one reads. Because I just have to say that

I miss Maze Kouyate.

My life will never be the same for having met him. And it will never be the same for having lost him so suddenly and unexpectedly.

Tu me manques, mon cher.


My goatskin djembe is done. After fits and starts, it has a new skin and sounds fantastic.

The first replacement sounded like crap because I didn't put it on well. Sidy tried to fix it for me, but the damage was already done. Then, when he was tuning it for me, the new head popped. What a ton of work gone to waste.

The drum sat for a long time until finally, this week, Sidy had time to do another head. This time he did the whole thing, so it is perfect. He brought it over yesterday and finished tightening the vertical ropes while I practiced sumale. I still can't get over how amazing it is to watch him work on a drum. It is a full body experience, squatting on the drum, which is lying on it's side, pulling the ropes with a hunk of hardwood stick. So much physical energy goes into it. I swear I want to build a pulling stand sometime. It would save so much work.

The drum sounds gorgeous. I tell you this shell is just amazing. And this new, thin, skin, is dry and crisp and oh so sweet, even without a full tuning. I am so happy to have it back.

I missed my drum.