Monday, September 22, 2008

Has it really been that long....


Samba Mapangala
Originally uploaded by V'ron
.... since I've blogged? I guess I'm still in denial that it's no longer summer, which blew by too fast, too fast for me to even document. Last weekend (not the other day, truly last weekend was the Global Union Festival coupled with the Bay View Bash, which should have just been named the Bay View Slush. Bands on Saturday didn't even get started until three or fourish, because of the rain. I can't say I blame any of the sound guys who didn't want to expose their gear out there, but maybe the Bay View Bash just wasn't meant to be this year. You may remember they weren't going to have it at all, then at the last minute sponsors came in, and they had two months to slam it together. Given that, it turned out well, but between the rain and the elenth hour-ness of it all, it wasn't what I've come to expect.

Global Union, on the other hand, soldiered on through crappy weather and was it's usual treat. We caught the end of Lamajamal's set, and they were fun. Woodwind player up front who looked like PJ Soles was fronting a world music band instead of the Ramones, and guitarist who delivered on his blling as a surf guitar player. Actually, if you came expecting to hear "Pipeline" you'd be disappointed. Rather, you'd hear the source of music that influenced so many surf players -- the arabic scales, the native dynamics.

But speaking of mixing American and world roots, up comes Prasanna -- a band of Indians who set up shop cross legged on stage and were led not by a sitar player, but this guy wielding a Les Paul who wore his love for Jimi Hendrix on his sleeve. And it was clear it wasn't just Jimi who inspired him to play an electric six-string run through a rack of effects boxes. At times I would have guessed that you'd find some recent King Crimson -- from both Fripp and Belew -- and maybe even some Snakefinger in his record collection.

Sunday, we braved the rain, which stopped just as we were arriving, to catch the end of an Iranian act that featured a woman who sang like no tomorrow, and whose delivery ranged from joyous to desperate. As seems to be Global Union's fashion, she was followed by Maraca -- a Cuban dance band which featured a flutist who even did a few Ian Anderson-style flutter tounging runs while maintaining a great salsa feel. By the time African-born Samba Mapangala came out, this was a crowd ready to party, and while he could'nt jump as high as last years closer Dobet Ghanore (who is booked for an Alverno show later this year), he still inspired the crowd to get on their feet. It's always a wonderful festival, and I hope Alverno knows that it was only the rain that kept more people from coming.

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