GHANA I BENIN I INDIA I ZIMBABWE I MARS I CANADA I TOGO I JAPAN I SOUTH AFRICA
ghana


Sent:
Monday, June 10, 2002 8:37 AM

from malaria to music

Well....I'd be lying if I said I didn't mind the malaria. Though it did take me for a spin I'm much better now though it seems I have something of a skeletal look, so I think.   The final blood test came back negative for parasites so I left the hospital for Bolgatanga (place of the rocks) as soon as I could with Awal and Suali, my teachers.  There is a ban on drumming in Tamale beacuse they decapitated the paramount chief a few months ago (that's what happens when you mix partisan politics with chieftancy affairs).  Since he has not been buried yet and there is still tension, there is a curfew and a ban (if you drum it may seem like you are happy for his death).  So after learning the dance with our mouths and bodies we had to leave town for the drumming side.  Five days, three blisters (4 if you include the blister on a blister), some tea for "remembering" and many smiles later I have learned the drumming and dancing of a fabulous dance called Bamaya which will get rid of anyones beer-belly due to the constant shaking of the hips which can tie your stomach in knots.  Sadly, my time North was short though sweet.  I can only imagine what I have missed since I've gained so much.  Next time I ‘spose.  I met some of the most sincere and genuine people ever though which made it all worthwhile, even the illness.  Yesterday on an 11 hour bus ride with no chance of sleep and my talking drum cradled on my lap and I'm on my way back to Accra.  Through heavy rain and customs officials searching us we finally arrive and all I can think about is the money I've been spending.  So at the Arts centre where I wait to send some drums (and spend way to much money to do so) I walk to the ocean in a light drizzle to clear the mind of the money matters.  On the way back I'm drawn to a small kiosk which is producing this hypnotic and flighty music from a "gyile"(xylophone).  Some time later and the palette is clean.  All I can think of is this instrument and it's music and how much there is that I have yet to touch.  I implore the man to continue as the timbre is something unique and his music the same.  Hard to describe, but try to hear a marimba-like sound with calabash resonators that have a minute holes covered with a membrane composed of spider's web to produce a rich, buzzing sensation.  Put it together with the imagination of a master player and maybe you can see where I'm coming from.....or maybe not.  Anyhow, music has the power to erase all the superfluous and concentrate the essential.  All hail sound!!! Now I get to go home to the village for a week of only God knows what and then I leave.  Strange.

Until Frankfurt.....

curtis


ENTRIES FROM GHANA
APRIL 29, 2009
APRIL 29, 2009
MAY 11, 2007
APRIL 21, 2007
MARCH 29, 2007
FEBRUARY 12, 2007
JANUARY 22, 2007
JUNE 10, 2002
JUNE 2, 2002
MAY 10, 2002


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