There was dancing at the Sanctuary for Independent Media on Wednesday night. Lots of it. All around the edges of the seats, the standing-room-only audience members were dancing. On the stage, the band was dancing. Heck, even I was dancing.
Some audience members danced up the center aisle to lay money at the feet of the musicians. One woman danced up the aisle and placed a dollar bill on the sweaty forehead of the bandleader, as is the Malian tradition. Later, she danced up the aisle to place jewelry on the hands of the lead vocalist.
Malian musician Bassekou Kouyate is a master of the ngoni, a small stringed instrument that’s something of a cross between a lute, a mandolin and a banjo. He played on Bela Fleck’s marvelous “Throw Down Your Heart” album and the film of the same name. Tonight, he’s performing at Carnegie Hall.