Bringing the wild drop home

        What a lovely night in my home town, Silver City, punctuated by an awe-inspiring late-night lightning show.  Finally pulling together a local house concert CD release, with the help of friends and percussionists Gabriel Feldman, Josh Stretch, my brother Peter and sister Maria on guitar, vocals and percussion, and the grand finale of Monica and Martha with the surprise Sorsonet dance....what a treat!  Together we pulled-off the almost-full orchestration on the new album Wild Drop, and shared it with a packed living room of 75 people or so in the early throes of the summer monsoon season.  My parents in town for the occasion, my oldest sister Erica, old friends I've known since I was a boy, all those eyes and hearts bouncing and reflecting the music, the drum, the sound back and forth like an invisible crystalline ping-pong ball. 
         And isn't this what music is for?  Bringing us together in the comfort of our homes, on our own turf, to laugh, to cry, to feel the emotions of being a human, in all its glory and sorrow?  Later, talking with Josh, still in the thick of our collective grief over our lost little sister Ella, we echoed that sentiment back and forth: that we are here to wade through the joys, the sorrows, the grief, the ugliness, and the magic, without averting our glance; without trying to avoid pain or even to transcend it. 

         It seems that sometimes modern music has become just a "feel-good" filler, here only to distract us and get our minds off our troubles.  Yet even "singing about our troubles", digging into them musically, as Zimbawean great Oliver Mtukudzi has talked about on multiple occasions, can offer the magic potion of diffusing tension.  We sing for our losses.  We sing for our joys.  We sing for fallen daughters.  We sing for babies born.  We sing for the hopelessness of our current situtation.  We sing for the hope we feel anyway.  We sing for broken dreams.  We play the drums when we are lost, when we are depressed.  We play when we are exhilarated; when we are joyful.  Music is our magical friend, always in our shirt pocket, ready to help; ready to accompany us on any flowering, glorious, or devastating part of our journey as human beings. 

          I give thanks for the music.  Thanks for my town.  Thanks for people coming out to be together and to support music.  Thanks for the drums.  Thanks for the songs.  Thanks for the dancing.  Thanks for the mysterious language, friend, companion, and community organizer that is: