Mick Escott

WEST AFRICA IN THE GARDEN                                                                                       


Spread over turf

stripy deckchairs, pine table and

sparkling pints of local cider,

in early June it’s just the ticket,

the lingering drear superseded,

as we await the opening kora player,

soon seated on the dais weather-proofed

under teal parasols,

just about secure in bouts of breeze,

umbrellas advisable but lacking,

for the first part setting the scene,

then most with his partner,

from West Africa, he tells us,

stroking his ngoni,

prised from a combat-coloured case

bulbous, the colour of sand,

to liberate melodies and rhythms,

a summer instrument in the open air,

in synch with the kora for fused effect,

soft vocals marking the downing of the last draught,

not worth replenishing as the clear-cut hour

passes efficiently

1 to 2pm, said and done,

through the kora’s circular riff with

occasional djembe drum support,

caressing senses,

declaring summer.

West Africa in the Garden.jpg