Everyone slept in on our final morning. On purpose…we wanted to get a good rest, as sore throats were starting to emerge and we knew we had a challenging workshop with Nani Agbeli later in the afternoon. The youth themselves had asked if we could check out Harvard so we adjusted some plans and headed through town to Cambridge. Not exactly a straight or easy route, but interesting. Our van had an unexpected tour of the MIT area and a drive back up Mass Ave. when we took a wrong turn. One of our chaperones has some familiarity with the Harvard Square area from her college days so we all met in the Coop. What a bookstore! I was hoping someone would just magically drop a thousand dollars into my account. I could have spent that in about 30 minutes.
We split up into groups and toured around Harvard Yard, where SO many movies have been made. Since it was pre-frosh weekend, there were several musical combos walking around and playing, trying to get future students to sign up for an ensemble next year. I think Emma almost got signed up for one :) Great architecture; good mix of old and new, and really lovely scale overall.
Everyone grabbed a bite and then headed back to Medford to get ready for our workshop with Nani. We arrived at the Music Building, our third time now, so it really felt comfortable going there.
We had decided to work on Tokwoe with Nani and we began with everyone dancing, after showing him where we were with the arrangement he taught us a couple of years ago. As usual, Nani asks for full commitment in terms of body response: head movement, torso angles, deep knee bends, very flexible back etc etc. He decided to add a new variation which was really fun….including a new drum part for me on lead which I was scrambling to put in the right spot. We danced for a long time and only had time to correct small supporting drumming parts before it was over. But the workshop continued on in everyone’s thighs. Ouch. There was some trouble getting up stairs for the next 48 hours :)
Post workshop we watched some of Nani’s rehearsal with his community adult group Agbekor Society, founded by David Locke more than twenty years ago, who has been a wonderful guide for me over the years with this music and community. Really inspirational evening!
But we were all FULL in so many ways and did not stay more than an hour. We headed back to the hotel and had some swims, did some packing, reflecting, and some visiting back and forth. And… some more visiting back and forth. And….some more visiting back and forth. ;)
What a great group of youth to travel with. We ALL had fun. And Cliff bars took on a status usually reserved for Fanta in Ghana. Go figure. Until next time! Akpesia!