Taking the Town


Roanoke is a sleepy town. From personal experience, I can tell you that meandering downtown for an hour won’t get you a laundry mat. It is far from a metropolitan cityscape, but it doesn’t try to be one either. But Saturdays are different.

On the weekends, downtown comes alive with a farmer’s market, pony rides, and artisans selling their spoils to the locals. On this particular weekend, if you made your way past the chicken and waffles spot, you’d hear a curious noise peeking from the alleyway. It was Wael running his fingers along an accordion, with local musicians eagerly huddled around a microphone attached to the OneBeat mobile studio. The accordion isn’t native to Wael’s Tunisia, and neither is the Nord keyboard that’s his typical tool of choice. But today, in this small town, we had the opportunity to show the downtown locals (and later in the evening the audience at Jefferson Center) tastes of our represented countries beyond the usual newspaper headlines.