I’m off to Deutchland with my family tonight till July 9, so not much posting till I get back to Kings County. Unless the spirit moves me. Till then, if you visit this site, here’s the music of Sudanese-native, Columbus,Ohio-based drummer Ahmed Gallab (uses the name of his band Sinkane and also part of the Calilou Traveling Band) to listen to. I like “Autobahn” (no connection to the Kraftwerk song) a lot. Here’s the link. (You can also hear “Autobahn” on Perfect Porridge’s website.
Archive for June, 2008
Bill T. Jones … the Tony-winning choreographer of “Spring Awakening,” is back at work in the theater as the choreographer and director of “Fela!,” a musical based on the life of the Nigerian Afrobeat musician and political activist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti (or Fela Kuti, as he is widely known). The show features a book by Mr. Jones and Jim Lewis (“Chronicle of a Death Foretold” on Broadway) and music by Mr. Kuti, who died of AIDS in 1997. It will run Off Broadway at 37 Arts from July 29 to Sept. 21.
Source: New York Times.
In an interview with Harvard University academic Tommy Shelby in the latest (and uneven) Transition magazine:
What is Africa to me now, … I don’t know that we can assume that there’s anything spontaneous about the forms of recognition involved. And I think that’s compounded by the globalization of African American culture as American culture. Africa functions in this dreamscape much of the time as a place from which no light can escape, as the heart of darkness, as the core of unreason. Why would people want to identify with misery, AIDS, all of this? I don’t know that they do. I know also that there are many people here who want to re-create the terms of that solidarity and for whom it is important to have the Africa in African American as something that is vital and contemporary and dynamic, to allow Africa into the same present that they inhabit, not to make it a matter of archaic Africa. But I think those people are kind of a minority—they’re struggling for their lives, really. For example in Europe—and it’s problematic, too, in that context of a revived notion of charity instead of politics—there’s a big argument about African debt and the economics of the contemporary relationship with Africa. Here in the U.S., for other reasons I suppose, I just see Darfur everywhere, and I’m a little bit skeptical about why that has emerged or what sort of vehicle that is for the residuum of solidarity with Africa. I’m a little bit unsure about what that really means.
You can read the whole interview here.
Target First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum happens again on July 5. Next month’s theme is an African affair, including screenings of Ousmane Sembene’s Moolade and Abderrahmane Sissako’s Waiting for Happiness as well as Brooklyn/Botswana DJ Stone (pictured at the Chimurenga Party at Le Grande Dakar in Fort Greene in May this year) headlining an African dance party. More here.
The actress Ashley Judd who does work with “Youth AIDS” (and I agree, who does bring attention to the extent of the pandemic on the continent and its effects on communities’ day-day-to-lives in US media outlets) on her travels to Rwanda:
“Everything, but everything, made me cry! My first African tree! My first African bird! My first African friend! I was returning to my cradle and had the heightened emotionality of a seeker’s first pilgrimage.”
I am serious. The rest, if you can stomach it, here.
The Boston Celtics have adopted the South African word ubuntu as a team slogan this season. It means unity, interconnectedness and literally, “we are who we are through others.” There is a terrible irony that ubuntu is currently being embraced in Boston while South Africa has recently seen a viral spread of ethnic violence–the utter negation of ubuntu. Black South Africans, living in terrible poverty, have killed nearly sixty people and driven tens of thousands from their homes for simply being foreigners.
Dave Zirin, who writes opinion about sport in The Nation and Sports Illustrated on xenophobia in South African football. Here.
The New York Times Magazine profiles the South African-born Dutch painter, Marlene Dumas who briefly laid claim to the title of “the world’s most expensive living female artist” when “… [i]n February 2005, at Christie’s in London, “The Teacher (sub a)” (1987) — a large, horizontal group portrait that turns a sentiment-laden class picture from her own childhood [outside Cape Town in South Africa] into a bruising reflection on authority — sold for $3.34 million.” That’s the painting above. The profile here.
The Brooklyn-based painter Kehinde Wiley has made a name with his large scale portraits of African-American men (with few exceptions non-professional models literally picked on the street) dressed in urban style painted in poses taken from the portraiture of Old European Masters. For his latest project, Wiley set up satellite studios in big cities outside the US — in India, China, Brazil and West Africa — to extend that work. The Africa leg of that work “The World Stage: Africa, Lagos-Dakar” will be on show at the Studio Museum in Harlem from early next month (see here for more details). In an interview with the New York-based GIANT magazine, Wiley said he picked Nigeria for its significance as a large oil state and Senegal “as a place many Americans visit to go back to their roots.” [Wiley's dad, btw, is from Nigeria.] The difference with the Africa series is that Wiley “presents his subjects in poses taken from post-colonial sculptures specific to the Nigerian city of Lagos and Senegal’s capital Dakar, rather than European paintings.” To see some of the images, see the GIANT website here.