Finding magic of dancing, drumming at Thursday market |

Finding magic of dancing, drumming at Thursday market

It all began at the Thursday Marketplace recently in Grass Valley. Saul Rayo & Cocina del Mundo, a favorite band of mine, was playing a mix of African highlight, Latin, and Louisiana back-porch blends at a stage set up by City Hall. After the first set, we dancers had only a moment of cool down before noticing a mix of drummers collecting near the Del Oro Theatre. I grabbed my Dumbeck, a Middle Eastern drum, which I keep in the car for such emergencies, and ran off to join them.

The drummers, dressed in matching white, circled up by the theater; then, playing a strong Brazilian Oloduim Samba Carnival rhythm, they proceeded down Mill Street.

We followed the drummers, with everyone drumming and dancing to the clapping of observers, many of whom joined in. We found ourselves back at the stage where the local Capoeira school with their drummers and bermibau players recreated the circle with a call and response song. Then, more folks joined in. In the center of the circle – dancers who might be described as doing part break dance, part kung fu, part yogis and part acrobatics – paired up in an improv group that left us spectators awestruck. This local school practices Tuesday and Thursday evenings above The Center for the Arts.

Sal Rayo’s band came back from its break and welcomed a dozen percussionist from the samba group. And the fun continued.

I sought out Ray Diggings, the Thursday Market organizer, to thank him for such an incredible event. He has brought many fine groups, such as Akimbo, Tempest and Blue Turtle Seduction, to this same stage. Tonight is Kipchogie & the Ginger Ninjas. Yet to come are the hot and spicy Bayou Boys and Sabroso – all great bands to dance to.

I urge you to come out to this wonderful summer event that still has a couple of weeks to go. Visit to see the complete schedule.


Rich Oberleitner admits he’s a dancing fool and will attend most anything that is dance related.

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