In honor of Black History Month, Leonard "Doc" Gibbs, a notable African-American musician, presented the musical program, Drum, Dance and Percussion, at the Forest Park Branch on February 6, 2013. Although not a medical doctor, Doc Gibbs uses his skill and expertise on a variety of percussion instruments with the same grace and precision of a master physician. For 10 years, Doc Gibbs could be seen delivering delightful music on Emeril Live!, a popular cooking show with Emeril Lagasse, on The Food Network.
Image: Wiki Commons
The Forest Park Branch was honored to be one of four branches, along with the Reisterstown Road Branch (featured on Pratt Chat last week), who hosted an all-around-the-world trip through the sharing of music and various percussion instruments. Doc took us to various places on this journey. We went from the southeastern Asian country of Thailand to Switzerland in central Europe, and then down to the eastern South American country of Brazil, and finally, onto the shores of West Africa in Guinea, and a little further inland, to Mali. Just as a doctor cares for his patients and gives medical advice, Doc never let his audience down as he shared the sound and sometimes unusual names of the various instruments.
Hang Instrument Family
Image: Wiki Commons
For example, he played an instrument from Brazil called a "hang," which is a steel drum that he equated to a "George Foreman grill." Another interesting instrument was the "cuica." This instrument gives a high-pitched squeaky sound. Doc also demonstrated the "kalimba." He related the playing of this instrument to texting on a smartphone. Doc said the only difference between the two would be that with the kalimba "you have to use your mind and spirit to create a melody in your heart."
For a couple of hours, the customers, mostly African-American youth, of the Forest Park Branch imagined themselves on a musical trip filled with the sounds of far away places that they may never see. They were not only able to hear Doc play the percussion instruments, but he also invited them to play, sing, dance, and learn. Sometimes we do not like to listen to our doctor’s orders, however, this night, all listened, and listened well to Doc Gibbs!
Check out this video from the Doc Gibbs' performance at Forest Park Branch: