Ndikokele Bawo

Last week, I sprang a performance on my students. More than that ... I taught them a completely new song ... a cappella ... in Xhosa ... the day before they had to sing it ... for the whole middle and high school. I'm not sharing this because I'm proud of this last-minute approach to... Continue Reading →


"When the storm comes, will you reject the rain if it falls not soft? If it falls not tame?" Sickness is certain in living. Heartbreak is sure in all loving. Death is the door at the end of each path. That these things are true doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is the heart's... Continue Reading →

Seeing with Sound

He had a wand.  A singing wand that could see through skin.  He touched the skin and frowned: a black spot upon the grey, fuzzy picture of health.  A hard image, round and empty.  Suspicious.  The wizard drew his lines (X marks the spot) and said, "Come again next week. There is another wizard needed here." ... Continue Reading →

Isicathamiya! (and other adventures)

Thirty men jog on to a stage wearing crisp suits, two-toned shoes, and white gloves.  They stand shoulder to shoulder in a tight arc.  In front of them is a single man in a bright, contrasting suite and gloves.  Bending down as though drawing energy from the stage itself, he seems to explode upward, spreading his whole body... Continue Reading →

Music, Love, and Making a Difference

How do you teach a thing, knowing that you will not truly succeed unless something much deeper comes with it?  How do you illuminate joy?  How do you communicate the meaning of necessary love?  And how do you show that, like it or not, we each make a difference? _______________________________ I kept glancing anxiously at... Continue Reading →

Oh for a man who will sing!

Peacocks do it.  We know almost all of the bird cousins do, but so do monkeys, whales, wolves, frogs, bats ... and it's the males that do it best.  So what's up with humans?  Or to be more specific: modern, western-culturalized human males?  Why is it so common to hear men say "I can't carry... Continue Reading →

A quiet summer

I suppose "quiet" is a relative term. If you live next to a construction zone, then the sound of fifty children on a playground will seem relatively peaceful. If you live surrounded by cornfields then the sound of the ocean may be cacophonous. This summer was a quiet one for me - relative to other... Continue Reading →


I sang in my first opera on Friday! What? Better than that, I improvised my way through my first opera. Hold on ... Since about November of last year, I have been singing with a small community chamber choir here in Nairobi. The group usually specializes in African and African-American choral music. This spring however,... Continue Reading →

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