Three marimba groups from around the state converged in Denali on Saturday for Marimba Madness North. There, on the outside stage at Tonglen Lake Lodge, the musicians filled the air with music that soon had people dancing across the lawn.
The groups were Serevende, from Fairbanks, Knock On Wood, from Anchorage, and Shamwari, from Homer. This was part of Denali Outreach from Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.
African marimba was first introduced to Fairbanks in 2017, thanks to Peggy Carlson, who learned to play with the group in Anchorage, when visiting her sister. She discovered it wasn’t much fun playing alone, so she arranged for the Shamwari Marimba Ensemble of Homer to come teach a class in Fairbanks. After a performance at the Tanana Valley Farmer’s Market, 30 students signed up for the class.
Seven of those students stuck with it. And soon the Serevende Marimba Ensemble of Fairbanks was formed. Marimba has now been included in Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival since 2018.
In the interest of full disclosure, readers should know that Kris Capps is the Denali Outreach coordinator for the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.
Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at firstname.lastname@example.org. Call her at the office 459-7546. Follow. her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.