Monday, June 29, 2009

The rains are here!

The rainy season is almost upon us, with each passing week showers are more frequent, one every three days now and a welcome break it is from the hot months!

Rain brings with it a new set of issues, the main so far is the run off - most of the road here remain dirt roads and its not unusual for roads to become almost completely inundated as the water seeks lower ground.

The pattern now is relatively predictable; a gradual rise in temperature for two or three days to be followed by sullen skies and eventually for the heavens to open releasing blessedly cool rain. The thunder cracks, lightening forks across the sky as the rain drums harder and harder, driven by gusts of wind.

Today's shower was a short but violent one, cooling the air down so rapidly, it brings an immediate lifting of the spirits. Its nice to feel cool again!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sri Lanka - Small Miracle

A stunningly beautiful video, brought an ache to my soul, Sri Lanka is such a beautiful country indeed. Almost perfect if not marred by robot singing towards the end... Its kind of symptomatic really, such an amazing county with so much potential, and yet there is always something that someone does to make it less so.

Kudos to the producers!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Salif Keita Live!

Just back from Salif Keita Live and oh wow!

The show kicked off two hours later than scheduled but getting to hear him sing, to watch him live was indeed a treat!

This man has a powerful voice, he opened his concert singing so softly, it was hard to hear him over that of the music; and then he let loose, almost a bellow, it was easy then to believe that he descends from an Emperor.

Referred to sometimes as the "Golden Voice of Africa" Salif Keita is a world renowned Afro pop singer and song writer. Ostracized and cast out by family and community due to his albinism, Keita joined a government promoted band, which subsequently fled Mali due to political unrest in the 70's. His travels eventually lead him to Paris where he lived for many years before returning to Mali and Bamako to set up a recording studio from which he now works.

What a night...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Guess Where I'm going?!

Thats exactly where I'm going, for a Salif Keita concert come Saturday!

And I hope he plays this

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Of music and native guitars

Zaka is this little oasis in the middle of Ouaga, a place for a cold drink and the possibility to meet some rather interesting people.

Last week I met Akili Gnouma a local musician who plays a mean Goni - a stringed instrument much like a guitar.

I was given an impromptu performance as I sat there drinking a soda, one that resulted in me buying my own Goni that afternoon. Why I did this I don't know, I cant play for toffee nor can I sing.

Oh well...


Work took me to the South Western part of Burkina Faso, to Bobo Dioulasso and further to the dusty sleep town of Banfora

Banfora is just 60km from the border with Cote d'Ivoire, and surrounded by a lush green countryside.

I was drawn to this area by the Peaks de Sindou, a range of sandstone 'mountains' that over the eons has been sculptured by the elements into out worldly shapes. Classified as a 'World Treasure" these peaks are awe inspiring in their splendor. The drive here from Banfora is a along a 50km dirt track, one that in the wet season must surely become impassable. But on this day, just after a sudden rain storm, the surface was smooth enough to do 120 for most of the distance - a rally drivers experience indeed!

Sleepy Banfora was just what I needed, to rest up and recuperate. I'm sorry that time did not permit more than a day off for me to experience this beautiful part of BF. But I did get a nice send off. As I drove out of town I came across a bunch of imps upon a donkey cart. A handful of lollipops had smiles on their faces and a wonderful photo op for me too!

Returning to Bobo I went in search of the Grand Mosquee - an 18th century mud structure and a beautiful representation of Sahel architecture. Inside there is room to seat 800 of the faithful as they gather every day to kneel in prayer. The immediate surroundings are tranquil, serving the community as a place to meet and socialize. The wooden struts serve two purposes, one as the supports upon which the Mosquee is built and the other as scaffolding for repairs and re plastering.

As I drove around Bobo I was fortunate to come across the celebration of a marriage. Part of the street had been commanded to accommodate all the guests, all women who arrived dressed in their finery each bearing a chair to sit upon!The celebration consisted of the women taking turns to dance in the middle pausing to kiss one another and tuck money into the bride; hand. Where the groom was I had no idea!

Ah, life in Africa!

As is customary, more on flickr!