Hands of Kali / by Marcell Marias

As much as I dig the national and international acts, what’s REALLY cool is discovering hidden talent in your own backyard. 

That’s Hands of Kali.

A few months ago, Vic and I were at a mutual friends’ birthday party on Capitol Hill. We were told, by all means, to come early enough to ‘see the bellydancers’.  Well, sure, why not?  It’s an art form I know little about but I appreciate it when I see it.  Vic and I were talking a little shop over by the bar when the music came on and two stunning, lithe, black-clad women quietly stepped to the center of the room.  For the next while, I was captivated.  I couldn’t categorize their vibe; “belly dance” doesn’t begin to cover it.  The music was industrial and Goth in flavor, and the dancers, in their black tops, flowing skirts, silver jewelry, and elaborate tattoo work spoke to that as well.  But their performance!  Flowing.  Alluring.  Tantalizing.  Dark without being black.  Precise, yet organic.  Tribal, yet refined.  Modern and timeless.  And underneath it all, mischievous smiles, real and unforced, that spoke of a true passion for what they do.  If the sound of a midnight waterfall under a full moon could be given human form, I imagine it would be Hands of Kali. 

“I want them to perform at my birthday party,” says Vic.  Cool, says I.

“I want them to perform to one of our songs.  Faith.”   It’s one of our collaborations. Vic provided the lyrics and direction; I gave it musical form. 

Pause.  Sip drink.  Sip again.  Do the math. We are going into the studio in a week or so, but the singer we wanted to perform the song can’t make it.  Can our newest vocalist pull it off with only a few days’ prep?  If she can, we can have a working mix by Vic’s party.  Mentally cross fingers.  Big gulp of drink.  “Sure.  Go for it.” 

Vic makes the arrangements.  Anika, being the killer singer she is, pulls it off.  It takes us longer than I like to get them a mix of the tune, but I’m out of town for a good chunk of March. 

Vic’s party arrives. 

I’ll admit.  I’m nervous.  Not like anyone but me and Vic and Kendra and Deidra know it’s our song.    I just don’t want it to sound weird or wrong or out of place in their performance. 

Kendra and Deidra take the floor, looking as mysterious and striking as I remember from last time.  They begin.  And again I am taken to the midnight waterfall. 

The keyboard intro to Faith kicks in at some point.  My heart skips a beat.

Deidra performs a veil dance.  All eyes are on her the whole time as she gives a sensual, unhurried, almost sorrowful interpretation to the song.  I think Vic and I are grinning at each other like naughty schoolchildren the whole time.  Not because it’s our song… but because Hands of Kali were able to take it and make it much more. 

Deidra, Kendra…. that was awesome.  Thank you.  We would love to help you out in the future, whatever that may look like.  Always happy to support another local artist. 

And if you should find yourself in a place where you can attend a Hands of Kali performance… don’t hesitate. 

You will love it.

You may even get a preview of some of the music from our next release…