The Czech contribution to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest is by a band with the not-so-Czech-sounding name Lake Malawi. I saw lots of things in their video, as far as I followed it, except anything from Malawi, lake or otherwise. I guess it’s just a name … Wikip.: “the band’s name, is inspired by the song “Calgary” by [a band named – D.S.] Bon Iver, from their 2011 … album”. And then? I go and check. A German website has more: singer Černý was inspired by the line “So it’s storming on the lake” from “Calgary”, and Lake Malawi was chosen because “it sounds like a far-off romantic place” (my trans.). That’s got to be the reasoning of a Eurovisionary!
Just when I become too proud of my music collection (which is amazingly diverse and, well, just amazing!) and of my increasing knowledge of music, especially African music, I am humbled by a new discovery. Now, that’s a misnomer, because as a rule I have discovered that music in question just as much as Livingstone discovered the Falls that he had the nerve to name after an English queen who had never, nor would ever, set eyes on them. They, the Falls and Makame’s music had – always – already been there. A known fact as there can be one.
Back in Jo’burg, a town that is so rich in music, and a town that seems to have decided to accomodate me as best as she can, especially with music events. This time it was only a few hours after my touch down that Constitution Hill opened its gates for the music festival that accompanies the Human Rights Day activities here. I admire the fact that 21 March is celebrated here, a day that hardly anyone I know in Europe is even aware of, or would care about.
The greats are leaving us. Just a few days after Tuku, another famous African musician left us, the Kenyan Ayub Ogada. I don’t know how often I have played his most popular song “Kothbiro”with people everywhere, kids and grown-ups alike.
On January 23 this year, I was reminded of how on this day a year earlier the great South African musician Hugh Masekela had passed on. I was there, last year, and went to the musical memorial in Soweto a few days after Bra Hugh’s passing. It was there that I saw Tuku live for the second time. Now on this 23 January, I went home from work listening in my car to “Tapera”, the last piece Bra Hugh and Tuku produced together. At home, I made some tea, sat down, opened my phone and a friend had texted me. Tuku had died. On the same day as Bra Hugh.
Thursday is market day in Keyafer, and what a relief! It is a much more natural environment than is the encounter of tourists and the Mursi in the few villages where they meet. Keyafer market is lively, colourful and very natural, and a great opportunity to see openly tribal folk interact with town’s people and so on. I loved walking around, buying a few things, and eventually I pulled out my mbira and had a lot of fun with a bunch of kids.
Ethiopia’s Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region along with the area around Lake Turkana in northern Keny arguably is one of the candidates for the cradle of humankind, as some major discoveries that have been made here suggest. Since it is also a region with an incredible diversity in tribal cultures, it has been referred to as a (live) museum of human cultures. I found traveling here truly exciting, though not free from major challenges. I don’t mean the usual challenges of logistics, food and health or such like, even though they are more pronounced here. Rather, traveling here has exposed me to significant questions concerning the role of tourism, and tourist-tribe members interaction in a region where ritual infanticide and the ritual whipping of women is practiced. I have written about this in a separate post. So here’s a first glance only.
After some hiccups at Chirundu border, where two Zimbabwean officers were having themselves a time threatening Chimz because (unbeknownst to us) she had overstayed her visa, we made it to Siavonga, and to Herman the German’s Sandy Beach Lodge. You may have read about it before, and this time Thomas’ house was almost completely finished, and we could stay there for a few days.
Imagine a huge, beautiful garden, with lakes, amidst low rolling hills and some higher and rockier mountains lining the horizon – welcome to the Cradle of Humankind! Many of the earliest superlative superlative human fossils have been found here, and what a better place than this to create Nirox Sculpture Park along with a residence for artists. Well, you’d have to open it for concerts and mini-festivals, and they did for the Root Music Concert this past Sunday …
It must have been in 2007 when I first heard of the Fête de la musique, in my then hometown Greifswald. Since it traditionally takes place on 21 June, this is the longest day in the northern hemisphere – quite noticeably so down north in Greifswald. Now in Johannesburg things are different. For one, the FdlM was on 9 June, and of course here days are a bit shorter now, and especially the nights are chillingly cold. After all, we’re 1.700 m above sea level. Thus it makes a lot of sense to have the FdlM during the day, ending rather early at around 9 pm or so (we didn’t stay that long). Newtown Junction, the venue is quite a good choice with a layout that allows for 6 stages and is in a safe area of town. Although the line-up may have lacked big big names, there were some really interesting acts among the performances. My choice of pics gives you an idea.