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Published: 2006/05/24
by Reanna Feinberg

KanNal, The Mobius, Ashland, OR- 5/4

The room’s about to be stomped into the earth, sunk deep like a grave dug without shovels. Anticipation for Kan’Nal’s tribal ritual of shamanic rock fills the Mobius like a fire. The hairs on my arms begin to singe.

Aaron Jerad walks behind didgeridoos, extended out like mammoth tusks, and breathes a heartbeat into the room. The others six members trickle onto stage. Teresita Hinojosa, performance artist and spoken-word lyricist, dances a smudge stick, preparing the space for musical transformation. Ritual. Release. Explode, straight into a hard pounding, deep percussion inferno, infusing flesh and blood with the power to return these rhythms to their roots.

Tzol, songwriter vocalist and rhythm guitarist, rages in intense echoing whispers, hard yet fluid. It would sound evil if not for the profound, earth-based lyrics. Rodolfo Escobar responds in bass, though lacks the passion of the others. Tierro plays lead guitar, fast and hard, but with precision. Creating a steady fire, no smoke, he takes the Spanish gypsy trance straight to flame.

People clap along in syncopated beats. “If you’re gonna clap, clap with Gilly (the drummer),” Tzol playfully suggests. The band encouragingly leads the rhythmically challenged, but keeping time with Gilly Gonzalez is no simple task.

Glistening and dripping, Gilly bursts into a quick drum solo over layers of hand drums and hard steel surrounding him like pulsing shark teeth. Aaron joins him on percussion tools and samples. Passing rhythms off the skin of their drums like a game of psychedelic patty-cake, they draw the others into song. Heavy metal, tribal peace vibes pound into the room, shaking my mind, forcing me to exist in vibrations and sweat alone. The stage darkens. Akayate, performance and design artist, swirls white cloths into full moon arcs that reflect fragmented pictures of women projected onto stage.

Kan’Nal’s visual, sensual, rhythmic journey swallows me whole. My legs ground down, happy to be cemented as my body attempts to fly away. We fly fast, higher and higher, slingshot into the centripetal force of the planet, plastered to the ceiling of the world, caked in mud and stomping. Puddles of my various selves rest like crumpled clothes around my exhausted feet, as I dance, no longer afraid to fall.

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