Then it comes crashing in

A magical moment for me is when musicians are playing a piece of music straight and then, either insinuatingly or with a mighty shift, they Africanize it. I heard that in church a lot and, in fact, it seems to be the norm for standard hymns: they start off as if they were in a Midwestern small town Methodist church but gradually shift it over to an African mode.
Two recorded examples I can think of are a recording of a church in Ghana playing Stand Up For Jesus in a lugubrious fashion, but then you hear a few notes on a talking drum, a handclap pattern starts, more drums with crossing rhythms, and the song has been transformed
Another example is from a video titled Da Me La Mano, about Cubans in New Jersey who support a rumba club. One of the musicians, a pianist, is showing the director of the video how the conservatory in Cuba taught them to play, very, very straight, sonatas, etc., and he illustrated what would happen if you snuck in a salsa chord, the piano fallboard* falling on his hands. But he continued playing for the video, ultimately turning the piece into a virtuosic riff in a totally salsa vein.
I’ll try to gather more, from my own collection and from YouTube and other net resources.

*I always called that the piano lid, but that is the large piece covering the innards, not the little hinged board that comes down to cover the keyboard. But I never heard the term ‘fallboard’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *