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old men in boubous with electric guitars

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The usual Monday blues. It was another surprisingly busy weekend. On Sunday I woke up around 2:30pm when MoBob shook me in a slight panic. I was in the middle of a lovely dream about shopping for office supplies in Staples and was just reaching for a box of stationery when MoBob took me away.


On Friday night we attended a Cinco de Mayo party. Despite the presence of several Texans and a Californian (myself) the Americans were hard-pressed to explain what the holiday was and why a bunch of Americans were celebrating it. Unfortunately there was a visible self-segregation between the Burkinabé (and other Francophone guests) and the Americans (and other Anglophone guests). I'm not sure how to overcome that. I guess people hang out with people they know, and afterwards MoBob told me that many of the Burkinabé guests were from the international school, many of whom he already knew from soccer. After several awkward dinner parties M and I usually invite monolingual groups over. So when M asked his Moroccan cronies for dinner I invited my French tutor and an American friend who can hold her own in French. Even then the Moroccans dissolved into Arabic and/or Berber.

Saturday night we arrived early for the Super Rail Band concert on the closing night of the Ouagadougou Jazz Festival. They were definitely worth the wait. The opening act was Eugène Kounker Afro Jazz Band, a Burkinabé ensemble which featured a mini-Ray Charles on keyboards and a young man doing things with a balafon that I'm sure he didn't learn au village. The first few pieces were lukewarm but the band got dancey later on and toward the end a little girl (daughter of one of the musicians, perhaps?) wandered out on stage and then sat placidly on one of the platforms.

The Super Rail Band was just fantastic. A lot of the music was familiar from my two years in Mali, especially in remembering the long drives from Bamako to Mopti and back when the driver would play Malian music and I would crane my head for glimpses of the Niger River. The audience vibe was wonderful - I'm sure most of the Africans were either Malian or Djula-speaking Burkinabé (since Djula and Bambara are related). The band looked great. I think the youngest guy must've been in his 40s but they were so energetic and genuinely looked like they were having a good time. Since the theme of the festival was a tribute to Ali Farka Touré they played a couple of his classics, including one song with AFT's guitarist.

I was most impressed with how diverse the African crowd was. There were many families and many older people, while the foreigners were a youngish crowd. There was one lady in front of us who arrived alone, and was dressed very smartly and respectably - I took her for a university professor or a lawyer - but when the music started she sang along with every word and literally danced in her seat. I told MoBob that I took her for an old girlfriend of one of the musicians.


the Super Rail Band in action
The Super Rail Band in action
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On May 8th, 2006 01:04 pm (UTC), mokey4 commented:
Wow, that concert sounds awesome! I've been going to a lot of good concerts here lately, but I miss the liveliness of West African music, and the way people would dance. I know I'm not a great dancer, but I know that I improved a lot just by living in Ghana. Learned how to move the hips a little!
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On May 8th, 2006 01:15 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
I definitely recommend belly-dancing if you haven't tried it already!

I don't really know African music very well but I really enjoyed Saturday's concert. I saw Youssou N'Dour in Morocco once and Angelique Kidjo in LA but it's just not the same for some reason.
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On May 8th, 2006 09:58 pm (UTC), flemmarde commented:
i would have been content just with the stationary dream ... lol... that was excellent :) but the concert sounded great!

i know what you mean about the languages at dinner. it can get awkward. but sometimes i think it can be a good thing to push some of my friends to speak french more or to be with people they wouldn't normally be with.
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On May 9th, 2006 07:44 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
2:30?!?!??
Damn, girl, you must be pregnant!

JaneAnne
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On May 9th, 2006 08:36 am (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Re: 2:30?!?!??
Well, we'll see if the monthly visitor, er, visits.
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