The Mother of Masks, a call to the spirit


In our constant search for more things, it can be easy to forget an essential truth - that we are connected to others, and to our planet.

Far removed from the hungry masses worldwide, and from down the road - indeed, from mother earth itself -- we wander in our comfortable shells, often searching for meaning.

If we listen, we can find truth in a mother's call, a river's flow, a bird's chirp. When we're receptive, we can also hear it in the voice of Louis Alemayehu, reminding us to protect the environment by putting away our pursuit of luxury and the poisons it generates.

The poet did so masterfully on Friday, during a performance by The Mother of Masks, a stellar ensemble that fused words and music from the stage of the Bedlam Theatre's new space in St. Paul. Alemayehu and vocalist Mankwe Ndosi delivered their messages with emotion, grace and musicality, brilliantly accompanying the three musicians with whom they engaged in a spiritual conversation.

I can't do the music justice here. But let me just say that bassist Anthony Cox played with a controlled intensity during the show, as drummer Davu Seru painted the air with vibrant colors. Saxophonist Donald Washington brought the melodies home, with energy and humor, in a night of poetic jazz.

When the artists perform again, leave the comfortable seats and popular sets aside for a night. You don't want to miss them.

Before you keep reading ...

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