I saw Mbalax great, Fallou Dieng, play at La Fete de Marquette, Saturday night and am just now getting to posting some of the photos I took. It was so wonderful to be surrounded by Senegambians, Wolof, Mbalax music and Madisonians who appreciate international music. A few of the highlights that I am most grateful for:
- Gratuitous audience participation, especially when it comes to dancing on stage. The Senegambians who got up there made it look so easy – or at least made it look like they’ve been taking professional lessons their whole lives. Then the Americans; oh, the Americans. My favorite was the tall, emaciated white boy who wore a patchwork skirt and danced like he was being put through electroshock therapy. Entertainment at its best.
- Calling the kids on the stage. It wouldn’t be a Senegalese party if the whole family wasn’t involved. Most of the youngsters could put my own dancing to shame.
- Running into a ton of friends, the most exciting (by far) being my former English student, whom I tutored for a year and haven’t seen in just as long. When we exchanged phone numbers, I was excited that he had no problem understanding it in English, even over the noise of the concert.
- How all the band members had picked up crowd-pleasing English phrases. “One..Two..Three..Four” and “I Can’t Hear You” and “Bad Boy”. Linguists are my heroes.
- A chance to practice my Wolof. The secret to entertaining your listener while learning a new language is to master a few key idiomatic phrases for “I’m Learning.” In Wolof, maangi goorgoorla always gets a few laughs.
- Being reminded how much the Senegalese, Gambians (and other West Africans) smile at each other, at the world at large. Its contagious.
- My awesome Mac – it made posting my first video easy peasy. Now you can experience the concert, too.