From Zimbabwe to Tokyo at the Brighton Farmers Market

From Zimbabwe to Tokyo at the Brighton Farmers Market

(l-r) Ken Luk, Juila Egan, Micah Scmidt, Jennifer Kyker (sitting) John Green and Rachel Orke 8/14/16 at the Brighton Farmer’s Market

Today the Brighton Farmers Market had an international flavor.


with Neil in blue raking. [Photo: Anthony with a loyal fan, his Mom, in the background] see First Girls of Summer at the Game at the Corners; Talker wins it with three run walk off homerun

Jenny Frederick, Fellenz Family Farms

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.

All game I heard the sounds of world music coming from the Brighton Farmers Market. It was the Eastman Mbira Ensemble playing Spirit music of Zimbabwe.

Mbira was drawing ample attention from the crowd (who made their appreciation felt in the tip basket).


Photo taken at Chicory Blue Gardens 8/14/16

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).


Photo: Bev Gold 8/14/16

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).

kit miller's group

(l-r) Yuko Goto, Go Goto, Shigeko Suzukli (back), Susan Gardner Smith (front) and Ken Anno

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.


MBIRA Spirit music of Zimbabwe. For more information contact [email protected]

There is always good food, music and conversation at the Brighton Farmers Market. See you next week at the Game at the Corners and the market.


Celebrating the Fourth of July at the Game at the Corners. And much more.

Iconic America at the Brighton Little League Parade

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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