Musicians who bring the world to us

Two Fridays ago, Micah Spence and Christie Burns visited two classes at Howard High School with a presentation all about our musical lives: how we learn music, and how we share it with others. Micah wanted to show an excerpt of this video because he’d had a memorable learning experience several years ago when Cheick Hamala Diabate stayed with his family in Atlanta. Being the youngest musician in the household, and according to Cheick’s cultural practices, Micah was expected to sit with Cheick and have a lesson. In our presentation, Micah told the Howard students about Cheick’s technique on the banjo, how they communicated in broken French, and how through this musical encounter he found out about an instrument called the ngoni, an ancestor of the banjo. In sharing these memories (and this video) with the students, Micah conveyed how even just one hour of sitting with a musician from another culture can create lasting memories, teach you things you never even thought to ask about, and squeeze the continents just a little closer together.