September 28, 2007

Mooving and Grooving

So I brought my guitar back to the pre-school on Wednesday morning and the children again loved it. They danced away and some of them even managed to sing along with “O When The Saints.” For many of them, singing and dancing at the same time is just too big of a challenge so they just sort of dance a bit and then stare at me and then start dancing again.

When we were done, the teachers said they just wanted to hear me play so I tried “This Little Light of Mine” first, which flopped, and then opted for “Johnny B. Goode,” admittedly not particularly religious but a rollicking good time nonetheless. I always associate this song with children as it was the tune for a theme song at the summer camp I used to work at and it is so easy and so fun to play. And if I forgot almost all the words to the second verse, mixed in a few words from our theme song, missed half the chords (“so easy”), and got so winded from all the dancing I could barely sing the last chorus, it didn’t matter because the children were having a great time. (And they couldn’t understand me anyway because it was in English!)

As I was walking away, our after-school program coordinator asked me to play a song or two for him so I launched into my rendition of “Siyahamba,” still the only song I know in Xhosa. Our singing drew a small crowd and a couple of young ladies, who were both great singers and dancers joined in. The rest of the by-now growing crowd sort of stared at us in amusement and bewilderment.

After another long rendition of “Siyahamba” (I am getting very good at making simple songs very long), they asked for another so I tried “O When The Saints” and “Swing Low” but both kind of flopped. They asked for the South African national anthem, which I confessed I didn’t know and my attempts to get them to teach me were unsuccessful.

By this point, I was getting kind of hoarse and my fingers were sore but they wanted another so I opted for “Johnny B. Goode” again. But this time, I spared nothing and even got in the one-legged hop a la Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future, which went over exceedingly well. I think I did more on this one day to integrate myself into this community than I have in my first four weeks.

When I grow up, I hope I have a job where I can bring my guitar to work every day.