happening peoplearchive


Unfulfilled by a career on Wall Street, Gary Spalter traveled west in 1991, in search of "the opposite of New York City." He found Eugene, saw the Oregon Country Fair, and heard Kudana, a marimba band that plays the traditional Shona music that was imported to the Pacific Northwest in the 70s and 80s by Zimbabwean ethnomusicologist Dumi Maraire. A year later, Spalter was living in Eugene and learning to play marimba at the Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Center. Now a board member of Kutsinhira, he teaches at the center and directs the youth ensemble Hokoyo. Current members of Hokoyo ("watch out" in Shona) are Casey Barkan, Will Dickman, Grace Wittig, Michael Beardsworth, Jonah Sokoloff, Jory Christiansen, Mandy Walker-LaFollette, director Spalter, and Jake Roberts. "We played our first gig at the HIV-AIDS Walkathon in 2000," says Roberts, a 17-year-old who also teaches an Intermediate class at the center. "We opened for Thomas Mapfumo at the WOW Hall." For information on Hokoyo's new CD, other Kutsinhira performing groups, and class schedules, go to kutsinhira.org.


happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 6 December 2007

hp archive