I’m not sure how old Barbara Blake is, and I suppose in certain circles it would be rude of me to ask.
But as I watched her bounce around — without shoes — her hands rotating quickly as she kept the beat on a glorified washboard she wore as a vest, all I could think about was that this woman had tons of energy, no matter her age.
Blake is one of the multi-talented musicians of the band Unknown Tongues, which performed last week as part of the Havelock Cultural Arts Committee’s Thursday Night Live concert series at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center.
About 50 people attended the event. Those who didn’t missed an opportunity to hear a unique style of music. Unknown Tongues calls itself a Cajun Zydeco band. It’s a different type of music associated more with Louisiana than Eastern North Carolina.
That didn’t mean it wasn’t appreciated. Those attending the performance tapped their feet to the beat and applauded after each song.
It’s not New Orleans jazz, the music perhaps most associated with Louisiana. It’s more upbeat, as Blake’s bouncing would attest. The music blends a variety of instruments, such as the accordion, pedal steel guitar, violins, acoustic guitar, bass guitar and drums, much the same way Louisiana cooks blend a variety of ingredients into a delicious dish of gumbo.
On the surface, you wonder how it all works together, but the end result proves tasteful and you want to savor each note as your ears swallow it.
Blake played that washboard, along with guitar and added her vocals to the mix. Her husband Bryan Blake showed his versatility with pedal steel guitar, violins, accordion and vocals. Todd Humphreys lent his voice and his guitars to the mix, and Tom Parker set the beat on drums. It all came together in perfect harmony.
The Thursday Night Live series continues today with the Kaitlyn Dancers taking to the floor at 7 p.m. at the tourist center. The performance will feature Mediterranean-style dancers, and I would guess there may be an opportunity for those attending to give it a whirl as well.
Next week, the series concludes with a performance by the Havelock High School band, which always puts on a good show despite the relatively young age of its musicians.
Both of the shows are free and open to the public, and I would encourage anyone with a free Thursday night to go out and spend 90 minutes enjoying the shows.
After all, it’s good entertainment, no matter how old you are.
Ken Buday is the editor and general manager of the Havelock News. He can be reached at 444-1999 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.