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Inanna, Sisters in Rhythm, Interpretations of Ancient Voices, Rhythms and Drums

Venue: One Longfellow Square, Portland Me ~ November 19, 2010

Jan 11, 2011
Kimmy Sophia Brown

I’m thrilled that we got a chance to see this one of a kind concert featuring the Maine-based group, Inanna, Sisters in Rhythm, who opened for Glen Velez and Lori Cotler, on tour with their TA KA DI MI Project.

Inanna opened the show with an impressive set of songs, specializing in drums and percussion instruments. The four, gorgeous women were colorfully dressed in black pants and long sleeveless, billowy blouses with a celtic knot design, yellow flames, blue fire and and a dancing figure on the back. The performers were vital and confident, exuding feminine power by way of their beautiful arm muscles, smiles and voices.

I was enthralled from the first moment. I was excited to see educated looking, mid-life white women, (my demographic!), playing complex drum rhythms, singing like angels and dancing like them too, all with generosity and joy. I would bet that almost any woman who sees them would say to themselves, I want to do that too! I want to be like that too!     

Annegret Baier, Lizzy Derecktor, Shirsten Lundblad, Tori Morrill
Annegret Baier, Lizzy Derecktor, Shirsten Lundblad, Tori Morrill

The songs seemed to be of African or other indigenous origin with original compositions, executed with drums, sticks, triangles, shakers, the innovation of a metal Bundt cake-pan that sounded like a bell, and their harmonious voices. Not only was the drumming thrilling, but so was being in the presence of such vital female energy. Inanna emanated a radiant, refined and womanly power that was both spiritual and primal. I want to add the word, sexual too, but in the sense of original feminine power in alignment with original sexuality -- without the objectification of women, or anything crude that some people associate with that word.

Inanna was formed eighteen years ago by women from Alna, Maine, who attended a drumming workshop. The name, Inanna comes from an ancient goddess of Sumeria of four thousand years ago. She was called the Queen of Heaven and Earth, the Moon Daughter, and the goddess of grain, fertility and war. It is believed that the drummers and dancers of that time were predominantly women. The group chose the name, Inanna, to emphasize their connection to early traditions.

The members of Innana have studied with Karamo Sabally of Gambia, West Africa; John McDowell of the Afro-jazz fusion group “Mamma Tongue”; Yaya Diallo, master drummer from Mali and the author of The Healing Drum; Layne Redmond, author of When the Drummers Were Women; and Famoudou Konaté, a world famous djembe player. They have also begun the tradition of inviting master drummers to Maine to give drumming workshops. In their current iteration they consist of four women, Tori Morrill, Lizzie Direcktor, Shirsten Lundblad and Annagret Baia, although they sometimes have had more members

Their website, http://inanna.ws/cms_content/index.php, states that: “Inanna is deeply dedicated to the education and cultivation of peace and sharing among cultures through the power of music.”

They have recorded five CDs, (available on Amazon.com) and regularly perform at musical festivals and other community events.

For music lovers visiting Portland, Maine, I highly recommend
One Longfellow Square ~ "Portland's Premier Arts Venue"
Check them out at onelongfellowsquare.com.

Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.

She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews". Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD. For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.

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