Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Aug 29th
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

 

The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual