Today the Brighton Farmers Market had an international flavor.
Around the corner, we had another great turnout for the Game at the Corners. Undeterred by the overnight rain, with the help of two rakes, we played our longest game of the season, 8 1/12 innings.
Mbira was drawing ample attention from the crowd (who made their appreciation felt in the tip basket).
Coming from Fellenz Family Farms, Jenny Frederick enjoyed the change of pace from the usual jazz performances (that she also likes). A frequent listener of Putumayo World Hour, Jenny is familiar with Zimbabwe music. She savored Mibra’s global vibe and was happy to offer a donation (as Jenny does for all the groups).
To learn more about the music I was hearing, I turned to Jennifer Kyker, Assistant Professor of Musicology at the Eastman School of Music wh0 explained:
The Eastman Mbira Ensemble performs music of the mbira dzavadzimu, an instrument played by Shona speaking communities in Zimbabwe. An mbira ensemble typically features two interlocking mbira parts, called kushaura (or “lead”) and kutsinhira (pr “response”), accompanied by gourd rattles, called hosho. In its original context, the mbira is performed at ceremonies held to honor family ancestors, giving it an important spiritual dimension. Yet the mbira is also played in contemporary settings such as musical festivals and schools. The Eastman School of Music has hosted an mbira ensemble for over a decade, and regularly brings master performers from Zimbabwe for performances and workshops. The ensemble is also open to community members through the Eastman Community Music School.
Market marketing director, Susan Gardner Smith (who you’ve met before) discussed the positive reception of the group:
The Eastman Mbira Ensemble brought a lively, international energy to today’s Brighton Farmers’ Market. It was especially fun to see the young kids at the market dance along to the African beat. We hope this talented group of musicians returns to the market in the future.
Mbira was not the only international happening at the market.
Four visitors, three from Tokyo and one from Hawaii, were taking in the sights and sounds. All practitioners of Non-Violent approaches to conflict resolution, they were visiting Kit Miller of The Gandhi Institute (who you’ve met before).
The Tokyo contingent commented on the beauty of Rochester and the richness of the natural surroundings. Last night, they attended the Twilight Criterium (as had I ) and were impressed the spectacle of urban cycling.
As they adhered to Nonviolent practices, I wondered how they felt about proposed changes to Japan’s pacifist constitution, especially the revision of article 9 to allow Japan’s self-defence forces to act more like a conventional army.
Shigeko thought the revisions were unlikely, but Ken said the proposals were a cause of concern. Ken noted that just as the United States is not sure about its presidential election, people like him are not sure how the revision proposals — even if unlikely to pass — will finally be resolved. On the American end, I mentioned that Trump supposedly only has a 15 % chance of winning, but you never know. Ken nodded in understanding.