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Ilesa in the Pantry!

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The island of Cuba was a Spanish possession for almost 400 years (1511-1898). The land-owning elite held social and economic power, supported by slaves, both indigenous and of South American and African descent, until slavery was abolished in Cuba around 1886. Apparently, a part of the science of slavery was to make the slave totally dependent upon the land-owner: this was accomplished by separating the slaves from their friends & family, disallowing the observance of their customary rituals & traditions, and forbidding social interaction among the slaves. The end result of this was the slave force consisted of a large group of lonely strangers from all parts of Africa & South America, who spoke different languages and were not allowed to celebrate their native traditions - which included partying and making music. The drums, which were so integral in their culture, were not allowed. But percussion is not just a vocation. It is an integral fiber of one’s very being. It can not be repressed.

It can only be hidden.

In those days, Cuban slaves made percussion instruments out of whatever they could get their hands on - they found the very boxes that they packed cod-fish into all day made excellent bass drums (today called “cajons”) and smaller drums were made from wooden cigar boxes. As soon as the boss man was out of ear-shot, they would erupt into the universal language of rhythms that transcended all socio-economic and political boundaries. Liberated in spirit, if not bodily, these strangers created a temporary haven of joy. When the boss returned, he would only see somewhat exhausted workers, wet with sweat, sitting on cod-fish boxes. Secretly smiling.

It can only be hidden.

Recently my good friend Reg suggested that I drum on a can of peas and Vaisvil reminded me that I already had. Reefwalker refers to this piece as “the great percussion sneak”. It was literally recorded in secret, in a pantry, using only the dry goods shown in the photo at the top. Thanks to powered mics, which pick up even the most quiet delicate sounds, it was a perfect crime.

Nowadays at the Harris gated estate (well, old farm house actually, with a cattle gate that is never closed), one is free to play their instruments as they wish. It has become a sanctuary for wayward musicians. We understand that music is an integral fiber of one’s very being. It can not be repressed.

It can only be hidden.


Guest said

Regarding your reluctance to being in a pantry with Reg's women .... Ha ha Norm, you wouldn't? Where's your sense of adventure? While listening to your fascinating sounds I'm wondering what dish I could make of the ingredients shown.

Movement To Contact's avatar
Movement To Contact said

Man this is sweet. I tried this a while back but i was using my cellphone memo recorder and a few barrels and pallets @ my work. The recording sucked but i might have to try it again.

Vestigial Remorse's avatar
Vestigial Remorse said

I really like your style -- I normally don't go for pure percussion, but you definitely make it work!

Norm's avatar
Norm said

Ha! Well, you have a point. In Reg's world, there is a woman named "Ilesa". But I have not been in the pantry with her. Most of the women in Reg's world scare me to death!

Guest said

That's not the way Reg tells it...

Norm's avatar
Norm said

"Ilesa" is a percussion pattern, not a woman! Otherwise I would have not taken the risk of being caught with her in the pantry!!

Norm's avatar
Norm said

but I have to admit that my hot-chili tomato oatmeal-with-pickles pasta I made after this was pretty good. (The bottle of cabernet probably helped too).

Guest said

I meant "Ilesa"! haha

Norm's avatar
Norm said

2SS: Domestic? Yes. Barely. Goddess? Uh, no.

Guest said

Domestic goddess!

vaisvil's avatar
vaisvil said

this is excellent - and unique!

richardlaceves's avatar
richardlaceves said

very excellent,, both the music, and the story,one of the things i find so compelling about music is that, it is an art that exists only in the moment, of the beat, the hearing, the heart, i enjoyed this alot thanks for both

thetworegs's avatar
thetworegs said

Dooodley doo dodo do da da da......doodeley adoo dodo da da da ......yeh! I've got tune for this one I'm sure excellent beat Norm