A few hours after I returned from music camp(where I learned the rudimentary basics of marimba), we went to a benefit marimba concert at the Multnomah Arts Center. And this was a serious marimba band--they were from a prestigious secondary school in Botswana called the Maru-a-Pula School, and their marimba band was touring the west coast to raise money for scholarships in orphans. (Botswana has one of the highest AIDS rates in the world and has more than 30,000 AIDS orphans. The school now funds 30 full orphan scholarships and hopes to raise the money to fund 60 full scholarships.)
Mike and I have enjoyed marimba music for years--going back to when we were first married and about the only marimba band in Portland was Boka Marimba. But I've never heard an authentic marimba band from Africa, and man...American marimba bands just do not compare! This group of kids was phenomenal! Their music had way more variety and dynamics, and CHARACTER. I thoroughly enjoyed it...and as you can see from the photos, so did the boys!
Here's a video of the Maru-a-Pula School band performing in Seattle--you can get a flavor for how talented they are: