Let This Groove Get You To Move
... at Jersey City's weekly Groove on Grove music festival
I've found my new summer happy place and it's Wednesday nights at Groove on Grove, the live weekly music series in the Grove PATH Plaza from 6-9 PM. With our travel schedules lately, it was a blessing to actually be in town on Wednesday night of this week to catch the first Groove on Grove of the season. I almost forgot about it, to be honest. It was 6 PM and I had just collapsed on the couch after spending all day working in the City, when I realized what day and time it was, and what that meant. I jumped up.
"Do you want to take a walk with mama and go dance?" I asked the World's Cutest Human. Her eyes lit up and a smile spread across her face.
"Yes mama, dance!" She said. That decided that; we were off. Watching my child dance is my greatest joy in life.
Being a few minutes late to the groove party, we arrived to a crowd already circling a stage where Nimbus Dance Works was performing a piece with four women and astroturf (I've had trouble finding more information about the piece, so please share in the comments below if you know). It was beautiful, as much as I could see and focus upon, because the crowd was thick and my daughter was chattering in my ear about getting down to go dance with the "reeeennnaaaaa's!" (ballerinas). Needless to say, I didn't let her down until their performance was complete.
What a kickoff event, as Groove and HDSID/Downtown Jersey City additionally welcomed the Artist & Maker market to the plaza. That means that not only was there music and therefore dancing, but there were tons of artisans and their art, from posters to jewelry and clothes, wellness services to handmade soaps and goods, like two of my local favorites, Taproot Organics (I wear their lavender clay deodorant) and Soap for Sinners (my face cannot live without their rosewater mist face and skin toner daily, which isn't on their website yet, but you can find at the markets or Base gym, where I got mine).
I exposed the Love of My Life to Taproot and he fell for it immediately, and bought a set of soaps for my mom for Mother's Day this weekend, as well as the Coffee Scrub for himself (I'd say for "us," but we have separate showers, so I will have to steal to partake and therefore, it's really "his").
The first musical act to take the main stage in front of a packed standing-or-sitting-on-the-ground-room-only crowd was Segunda Quimbamba. I had no idea who would be playing this week, and was so pleased to be exposed to this local Jersey City band and group. Anything drum-and-dance-based is my jam given how many years I studied West African dancing and drumming (7+).
Segunda Quimbamba plays authentic Bomba and Plena, the drum music of Puerto Rico, and it was infectious, upbeat joy that got into the WCH's bones real quick. She headed for the front of the stage (you know, right where they ask the children to steer clear of because they had dancers) in awe of the drums, the singing and also the dancers. There was a big crew of tiny dancers that formed, and my heart was just about exploding as they held hands and spun and twirled, shimmied and shaked, and laughed deep, happy belly laughs. I love how quickly children make friends. "You're little, I'm little, let's play" is all it seems to take. It's us adults who make things complicated. Simple, pure happiness and fun is all children seek and we should model ourselves after their example!
We danced with scarves, we spun in circles and we jumped around. Segunda Quimbamba also offers dance and drum classes here in Jersey City on the weekends, which I want to check out soon!
Once their set ended, I ran around to check out the Artist & Maker wares, while my Love and my daughter continued her play with the other kids. There was so.much.goodness. around the market. Everyone creative and awesome in Jersey City (well, many of you!) was represented and it made me proud, as always, to see what a cool, artistically-inclined city we live in. That was the general vibe of the entire plaza, actually: a 'can you believe how awesome this is? It's our home! We are the smartest in all the boroughs to live in Jersey City!' And, we are.
Check out their photos of this week's event, as posted on the Groove on Grove Facebook page, and some of those I snapped, as well:
Without the energy of the band, the WCH melted quickly. A slice of pizza off the plaza helped picked things up, but still we packed up. A kiddie cone at Torico helped perk me up on the way home and leave Jersey City for yet another trip yesterday on a Chilltown high. Can't wait to groove again in a few weeks!
Mark your calendar and your socialwebs to keep your finger on the pulse of the Groove: