Straight No Chaser brings me back to Senegal with “Africa” and Christmas cleverness

I learned to make a food dryer while I was a Peace Corps volunteer at a food preserving training in Thiés, Senegal. It looked a bit like a space ship, but it did work. The friend who was my partner and I created the design ourselves. Oh, we were so proud when the flies were kept out and the mango slices began to dry. That night, after a few beers, the other volunteers who had also come to this training and we danced outside in an open air pavilion to someone’s boom box. I distinctly remember “Africa” by Toto. It was March and a breeze was blowing gently. This was a night when all elements seemed to come together in perfection.

My husband’s cousin who was also in the Peace Corps, but in Cameroon emailed me the link today to this You Tube video of the a cappella group Straight No Chaser. This group hails from Indiana University–all alumni, and I have to say, they’re terrific. You’ll see. Halfway through, you’ll also find out why hearing their music evoked images of Africa–Christmas too–the beginning of this is a how many Christmas carols can you recognize in the Twelve Days of Christmas, but by the end I was in Thiés. I love this blend of elements–a cross-pollination of sorts. Since this group tours, you may catch them live somewhere. Here’s a link to Straight No Chaser’s performance dates.