Meklit last night at Rickshaw Stop brought a convincing, brilliant and majestic sound, a wide smile, a variety of instruments, guest musicians to the stage, and managed to capture the audience's love, not only with the variety and unity of sounds, but with a capacity for story-telling and inter-weaving of her own heritage, experience and history into the performance. That made this show so much more special than it would have been if it were just showcasing what the band had accomplished in terms of their sound with Meklit's latest album.
The infectious bounce of the bass, drums, the trumpet and sax interludes, Meklit dancing, Meklit singing, Meklit playing guitar, Meklit playing the krar, a hip-hop duo with a New York friend, bringing the audience back in time into the artist's earlier realm and friendship, growing up in New York loving hip-hop. It felt relatable., and logical to incorporate hip hop into the show. As a kid growing up in LA with many musical influences shared among various friends, I could draw some parallels to my growing up, but certainly they were more forays of a semisuburban white kid into new music, more than a 'this is how I grew up in music' kind of way, making my path through urban music less pronounced.
I left after the show, inspired to listen and play as I only I can using my instrumental knowledge, and notions of time and music. There are a lot of sounds out there, and with so much to choose from, I suppose the real path to authenticity is not in the musical details or motifs that can be taken from different forms--that is the easy part--but in how you are able to project them through your experience..
Write, post, publish, prophet!