In and Out of Africa: Banning, Nora and Timbila

About a month ago, I videotaped the band "Timbila" at their CD release party. Something happens when one observes a band through a camera, and I found myself thinking that there was a story here. Unlike so many of the younger bands in New York City these days (whose members come together as strangers) that bloom for a while and then morph into other musical manifestations, Timbila is a band that evolved over a period of almost 15 years. The story has deep roots in the world music community of New York, and front person Nora Balaban and guitarist Banning Eyre are a large part of it. For those who remember the funkier, more artful days of the East Village, the name Tribal Soundz, the music and instrument store that Nora ran for many years will bring back fond memories. A few weeks ago I profiled Nora, only because I knew that the narrative was too big for just one posting. Here's the second section, in which I interviewed Banning Eyre, senior editor of Afropop worldwide, noted author, journalist and guitarist. I wanted Banning to explain the challenges of working with both mbira and mbila (timbila is plural of mbila) and combining elements of the African music he so loves with Nora's passion for Rock.

There's even more to report than this. If time and space permit, I'll also post Banning's demonstrations about working a part out for guitar and mbira, and get into the group's side-project with poet Bob Holman.