Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Drum Fest 2007

The 2007 Muhtadi International Drumming Festival was in town, which also brought Ricky into town. We headed up to Queen's Park to check out the sounds of drums from around the worlds.

A few hundred came to the rear of the provincial legislature from all ages, backgrounds, creeds, but mostly modern day hippies. It was a very humid day, but thankfully the shade of the trees made it bearable.

We found ourselves just wandering around the park. Ricky had hiked with him all the way to the park his own drum to pound out some beats, but he was very disappointed in the lack of individual drummers not on stage. In turn, I was disappointed with Rick because he didn't start drumming himself, not willing to be the pioneer to start drumming on his own. I offered to perform interpretive dance, or to sing, but it wasn't enough to entice him.

There were two main stages, a bunch of vendor booths selling drums, African art, and of course food. When we got hungry enough, we wandered the temporary tents and trailers. Vendors sold mainly Caribbean, but there was North American BBQ and even Chinese food. We went down the path, then back again, then back again. We couldn't decide what to get - nothing particularly hit us as interesting culinarily. We finally settled on a big tent serving African and Caribbean food. Rick and I both got "African Inspired BBQ Chicken", with him getting a side of dumplings and me getting a special beverage.

The dumplings were simply fried sweet dough. I think its really the best way to have dough.

The chicken was really the star of the show. If I didn't know better, I would say this was just Jerk Chicken; I don't know what made it 'African'. What I do know is that it was BBQ'd and it was delish. For $3 it was worth it. Our server topped it with hot sauce (not particularly hot, but a nice tangy bite) and 'seasoning' (some sort of green paste/sauce) which doesn't stick out in my memory now.

The drink I ordered, Sorrel, came in a big orange cooler and the woman running it was offering free taste tests. I decided to be brave and ordered it without tasting. It came in 3 sizes (each not much different in size, but the price was high for this homemade thirst quencher).

Sorrel is made from Sorrel Red, a plant that comes from Jamaica. "The edible leaves have a flavor that is very similar to that of kiwifruit, or sour wild strawberries. Because of the mildly acidic taste, some say that it quenches thirst, and consider it helpful in boosting the appetite." It is made into a popular "beverage [that] is widely consumed which is dark red, and has a sweet, spiced flavor." Searching the web, I found a recipe for Sorrel here:

1 pound sorrel 2, 4 oz. ginger, 2 quarts water, sugar wine (optional), 8-12 pimento grains
1.Wash sorrel thoroughly, using the fingers to lift it form the water. Put into stainless steel
2. Scrape and wash ginger. Grate and Add to the sorrel. Add pimento grains.
3. Boil water and pour over sorrel. Allow to stand 4-6 hours. Strain.
4. Sweeten to taste and add rum to taste. Add optional wine.
5. Service with ice cubes.

It did taste like strawberry and raspberry juices and was quite refreshing. I wanted more, but at $3 for a medium glass, I was tapped out.

We found a nice patch of grass to enjoy our meal, listen to the drumming, and just take in the atmosphere. The smokey smell of the grill is something I sorely miss from home, for living in rez does not give me the chance to BBQ anywhere.

With no table, eating was a bit challenging, but if you just dig in and give up on civil niceties, you'll enjoy your meal so much more.

Once we were done, we wandered for a little while longer, but with a lack of independent drummers and the humidity beating down on us more than the drums, we decided to pack up and search for a patio to refuel and recharge. Drum Fest was a nice escape, but had an overall disappointing feel to it. Fortunately, some cold beverages, a movie and dinner made up for the lack luster day.

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