Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Oct 22nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Wangari

 

music_LYLBWangariCensorship—the blasphemous term in music. Usually it’s applied to a bleeped out four-letter word, a phrase here and there. A whole song, even. Censoring an entire language? Unthinkable. But that’s a reality Sharon Wangari, the vocal soul and core behind the trio known simply as Wangari, is battling. Singing in her Kenyan mother tongue of Kikuyu is an act of preservation, not just an exercise in world music poetics. Because of tribal warfare the use of the Kikuyu language has been banned in Nairobi, and, needless to say, it’s gotten the singer “worked up.” Wangari explains, “I come from a family of freedom fighters, and our grandfather fought for independence so that we could be free and use our language.” She says the language is disappearing (“My friends don’t speak it because they think it’s primitive, and it’s being wiped off the face of the earth”), so the 24-year-old is now bringing it to listeners through modern acoustic music.

Wangari arrived in America in 2005 and settled in Santa Cruz’s Tannery Arts Center last April. Now performing with Paul Thibeault on classical guitar and Gabriel Harris on percussion, her hearty blend of Afro-jazz and world music crooning shines in concert with her humanitarian efforts. With a classy, vintage Nina Simone style and a raw, contemporary feel recalling the likes of India Arie, Wangari’s songs on the just-released Acoustic Vol. 1 are bold in sound and subject. “Mtoto” speaks of the tragedy of child soldiers in Sudan (where Wangari volunteered at 16), while “Mama Afrika” aims to raise awareness about the people and plights of her home continent. Truly an internationally minded act, Wangari also sings in Swahili, English, French and Bambara as a shower of clean plucking on the nylon strings rains down in pristine accompaniment. While she’s firmly planted in Santa Cruz these days, where she says her music “just blossomed when we came here,” she hopes to take her trio to tour Africa later this year. “Oh my God, I can’t wait!” she lights up at the thought. “For me, touring Africa is the ultimate. That’s where people need the knowledge, the consciousness and the spirituality of our lyrics. To speak the language with music through Paul and Gabriel—it’s the ultimate fusion for me.”

INFO: newbornvillage.com

 

Comments (2)Add Comment
...
written by roger denton, January 21, 2011
i have heard this trio and they are awesome....the cd is one of my favorites. we're lucky to have this trio in the area.
The Language of Kikuyu and Always Promoting Positive Music
written by Dilbert , January 21, 2011
I studied a bit of history on the African continent a few years ago and was quite impressed with the accounts of the Kikuyu and their fierce sense of independence and their stance on not accepting foreign dominion over them. This was back in the colonial expansion days where all the European countries were drunk with estacism, having found out that Earth was not, in fact, a square peg, and therefore sought to traverse this spherical, heavenly body, not for the discovery of knowledge, but to carve up any scrap of land they could find and swear it was theirs for all of eternity.
The Kikuyu, if I recall correctly, fought valliantly to keep their independence and sovereignity.

It's been a while since I have been into my studies. But this article here on Good Times was a pleasant reminder of my thirst for knowledge. I will be seeking out Wangari and hope to hear more music from this group. While I prefer, as my prominent genre, POSITIVE HIP HOP MUSIC . .. I am quite the eclectic. Feel free to seek me out for music reviews and updates on Positive HIPHOP like "We Gotta Change" found on itunes . .. which also seeks to "raise awareness about the people and plights of" . . the American waistland.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Field Work

Santa Cruz Mountain winemakers explain how the harvest works, and what kind of wine to expect from this year's crop

 

Libra's Two Choices

Libra (our last week) is the sign of creating right relations and values. In Libra we are asked to choose how to be, our identity in the world. We can maintain a hermetic sealed-off attitude (my life, my work, my money, etc.) or we can gain knowledge of world events and learn more about those in need. Libra is a group sign—self with others. Here are some events occurring in our world this week concerning food, poverty, spirituality, values and global realities. The UN (a spiritual experiment) each month places a “light” upon world problems. This week a light shines on Rural Women, Farms, Food & Poverty. Before we choose to respond we must have knowledge. “So we can each do our part.” Oct. 15 - International Day of Rural Women (unrecognized with few resources); Oct. 16 - World Food Day & Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth; Oct. 17 - Eradication of Poverty Day (international). During the month of Libra (with Saturn exalted), we pause, contemplate and assess what it is we know, don’t know, and need to know. Libra receives and distributes Ray 3 of divine intelligence, right relations, right choice and right economy (Venus). Use your intelligence “tips the Libran scales” in terms of being able to see and then choose between the two paths Libra offers (return to the past or step forward into Scorpio’s Discipleship). Libra (the oscillating light) prepares us for the great tests and conflicts in Scorpio. In Libra we are subtly tested as we learn the nature of polarized energies (s/he loves me, s/he loves me not). In Libra we learn more about ourselves through others. Libra’s Ray 3 asks us to become more adaptable and skillful. And then we are to teach each other what we know. In Libra, we all become teachers. In all these ways love is cultivated.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Docs Without Borders

United Nations Association Film Festival showcases documentaries from around the globe
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Nut Kreations

Co-owner Craig Olsen goes nuts over nuts

 

What artist or artists participating in the encore weekend of Open Studios should not be missed?

Santa Cruz | Teacher

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Friends who are wine club members of Martin Ranch invited us to the winery’s fun and festive annual barbecue, where the wine is flowing and the food just keeps on coming. Music and dancing are part and parcel of the action, and a good time is guaranteed.

 

Beer Bus

Santa Cruz’s new Brew Cruz, award winning ales, mole by el Jardín, and Wildcat Ridge Chardonnay