CongaDr+ Tony's Conga Adventures: Peoples park 40th bday benefit - Way out, with Wavy Gravy!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

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Peoples park 40th bday benefit - Way out, with Wavy Gravy!

We had a great time the other night at Ashkenaz, one of the best local venues for world music, just north of Berkeley. It has a long history as a club and was an important venue in the 60's.

The show was a benefit to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the founding of Peoples Park, the famous place of 60's protest near the Berkeley campus.

At one point, the entire country was fixed on this little park, the protests that defined a generation, and the clash of differing American cultures. This was about Vietnam, social welfare, community self determination, the separation of rich and poor, and police brutality among other concerns. The debate continues, and its not difficult to see the same theme in the world bank/imf protests of today.

The bill: Funky Nixons, Wire Graffiti, Marimba Pacifica, with Wavy Gravy mcing and doing some spoken word/story telling.

It was so fun to be a part of this fund raiser, as I was a one year old kid when the park was founded. But have always had a connection to the event, somehow.

Hadley Louden's band, Marimba Pacifica, had a few of the lead players drop out at the last minute. So he threw in a Rumba tune to mix things up, called Rick and I up to play.

We did a slow guaguanco. I was on Tumba, Ruskin Vaughn on Segunda, Hadley on Piano, Yaya on Quinto... Hadley wanted to play a smooth kicked back Californian groove, like a Yambu without a care in the world... yea, its somewhat of an oxymoron, but the sound he was after worked beter with the band.. Ruskin wanted to play up on it like a Cuban, Yaya was also trying to speed things up... and i was in the middle trying to make peace by playing just up enough while trying to groove. At one point, Ruskin is looking at me like, push it man! and behind him Hadley on Piano saying slow it down, behind me Yaya trying to get clave up tempo.. funny.

After, we were in the green room with the cats from Funky Nixons and had the most hilarious time.. these guys were cracking me up. These cats were sharp. .. quality comedy.. that was too fun.

One of the cats in the band, pictured in back to the right of this pic, is actually the mayor of Albany! He was a crack-up and we couldnt tear ourselves from the entertaining conversation, till they had to go on.

I didnt know his ax, but I expected him to rip on guitar or something... but he was rocking the cow bell! yea man! I can just see this band performing as teens in the thick of it.. back in the day.

Fun to be a part of it, as I was born late in '67. For some reason, I feel like an honerary hippy!


1 comment:

  1. MY NEW CD-"BREAKING SKIN/ROMPIENDO EL CUERO' is available at 18 traks of Afro-Cuban/Caribbean drumming and Latin Jazz music...chek it out!...Volcano Percussion Artist-"JC" Johnny Conga


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