Friday, December 31, 2004

new year's in mali!

and all the toubabs are in town. really. they are all here. allison got here on the 24th, joh arrived on the 28th with four in tow, including buff, and all over town there are toubabs. crazy. last trip i didn't see many, so i'm not sure if this is a december phenomenon (it is the coolest and least mosquito-y in dec and jan so lots of tourists come to mali now) or if mali has gotten better at advertising for tourists, but there are lots of tourists here. i'm conflicted about that, cause i think it is great that more tourists figure out mali, but of course in some sense that spoils some things. whatever, i'm just being wierd. but i like being the only whitey around sometimes.
anyway, allison and i have hired a taxi for the evening to go around with some friends. hopefully it'll be a good time. the last couple nights have been good, i've gone out to clubs, going with sidy and ba and meeting joh and buff and the rest on wednesday and going out with sidy, ba and allison last night. wed was nice, had a great time, buff rapped, i rode to and from the bar with both sidy and ba on ba's moped (mom, don't read that part).
i've been going to lots of ceremonies here, playing some djembe accompaniament and dancing some. but they've been pretty hard core ceremonies as i've been hanging with sidy and karim, who is a drummer with the national ballet. so for example at one wedding, i grabbed a drum at the beginning and was playing well, hanging in there, and some really good guys were really going strong. then they shifted from 2nd gear into about 6th in about 2 seconds and i was in trouble. i managed to finish the song and excuse myself from the drum. since then the playing time has been sparing. also mostly women dance at these ceremonies, so about once or twice per ceremony the men dance, and i get pushed (go myself) out there at those times.
may you all have an amazing 2005, filled with joy, peace, love and friendship.
kan ben sooni.

Monday, December 27, 2004

post christmas update

well christmas in mali wasn't really christmas. something about being with family that makes the holidays the holidays. i did have a nice phone call with my parents and sister, which was nice.
yesterday i played at a ceremony (wedding) all day long. i was exhausted to say the least. today it is off to downtown and who knows what else! i only have 2 weeks left here ( a little less actually) and time has flown since i left boston for these trips. i can't believe how fast it has been. anyway, just a quick hi and more later!

Friday, December 24, 2004

merry christmas!

i just wanted to take a couple of these gasoline generated minutes and say merry christmas and happy holidays to you all. i hope you are having great times with friends and family. i am missing my family and spending my first christmas away from my folks and sister. i am also missing my friends from home. but i am having good times with friends here in mali.
i am thankful for all of you in my life and everything that you do for me. i hope this season is filled with peace love and joy for all of you, and hope to talk to or see you soon.

xmas in mali

guys running around selling 2 foot tall inflatable red santas, sheep being washed by the side of the road in preparation to be sold for xmas dinner, joyeaux noel (or however you spell it in french) sprayed on store windows. these are just some of the signs that christmas is approaching.

oh yeah, before i forget, i have to post a bunch of small posts today, as i am computing by generator. that's right, the power blew and they started things up again on a generator. yeah africa! but this must be development, last trip i just sat in the dark or went out to the street until the power started up again.

anyone there?

over a week since i posted, almost 3 weeks since the last comment . . .

Saturday, December 18, 2004

divas, ministers and exhaustion

hello all -
i'm exhausted and am working on stopping a migraine, so i probably shouldn't be here at the internet cafe, but today was just too much, so i have to write.
i started the adventure today by putting on my brand new blue boubou. always fun to put on local clothes, whether it is a skirt in fiji or a boubou in mali. the locals love it, starting with the everyone at the house.
after i took the sotreman to the taxi station at faguguila market, i got a taxi to take me to ramata diakite's house. i just negotiated the fare to her neighborhood and then when we got going, told the taxi man where we were going. i got a nice reaction from him, as is to be expected when you tell someone you are going to a superstar's house. on the main road into town, at one point, there was a body lying in the road. i think a kid had just been hit by a sotreman, but my taxi man got us through the growing crowd quickly and out of there before things heated up. we passed a couple policemen about 100 yards down, one of whom was distractedly looking up the road at the crowd, but neither was starting towards the scene and my taximan said they would not go up there at all. different worlds.
continuing on through town, we reached the neighborhood where i thought ramata lived. asking a couple people, we got directions, headed there, and then got sent back where we started. a kid who said he knew where she lived jumped in the car, and off we went into the middle of nowhere. we reached a small house and the kid asked if ramata was home. now, i've been to ramata's house twice, and this was not it. i told the kid so, and then the kid realized he had misheard the driver. oops.
we then went to a telephone cabine, where i was recognized by one of rokia traore's sisters who had gone to her village with us. we got ramata on the phone, got directions and set off. when we finally reached her house, it was about 2 hours after i left the coulibaly house. wow. and i ended up paying the driver double the original price, plus dumping a few cents at the phone booth and in the misdirecting kid's hand. oh well, it was a fun adventure.
arriving at ramata's house, i was reminded that she had stayed at my house in boston on the bed on the porch when she was there for the coumba show. i can't believe that she stayed there, didn't complain and is still willing to help me out. she and her husband have a nice house and at least 3 people working for them. we hung out a bit, ate some lunch, and then headed off for our 'rendevouz' with a government minister.
on the way, we had to stop and buy him some meat from 'apollo', the most famous and best bbq man in bamako. stopping there, i was struck by the life of a diva, and my second close encounter with such in the past month. i fiji, i had the pleasure of spending time with laisa vulukoro, the biggest diva in fiji. a great person, great singer, huge flirt. her husband was around for part of the festival as well, and it ir interesting to compare his reactions to ramata's husband. both women attract attention from lots of people, especially men. neither one is interested in anything beyond flirting, but laisa's husband actually understood that and i think kind of enjoyed watching laisa deal with all the attention.
meeting with the minister was interesting. ramata introduced me after a bit of small talk, and i launched into our spiel about getting the music of mali distributed to the world via the internet. the minister was interested and he is going to work on setting up a couple of other meetings this week. yeah! so i hope that this stuff continues this week, and that we end up back in mali to do a festival and get all this great music. after my meeting with mali k7 yesterday, i think there is real interest and real possibilities for these great artists.
on the way back here to the iternet cafe (and soon on to catch a nap) i got a nice little lecture from a woman in the shared taxi to wear condoms. not sure quite why i got that warning since it was rather off topic to our conversation, but it was a bit shocking, as i have not heard people actually talk about sex publicly very much. there is always stuff on tv about aids, and this trip there is a repeating 5 minute movie about talking to your kids about sex and condoms, so maybe this woman was trying out her spiel on me before talking to her kids. who knows. anyway, fun chats in cabs! yeah.
stay well, i'm off to nap.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

who is the vp?

so things are shaping up. still waiting for sidy's visa to come through, but we have a cheque in hand from air france for his refund and we're waiting for the bank to open to go deal with that. hope that works ok.
tomorrow i have a meeting with mali k7 to talk about digital distribution of all their artists! and ramata is setting up a meeting with a minister! so keep those fingers crossed.
my favorite comment of the day has to do with politics. every here wants to talk politics and want to know if i voted bush or kerry. they seem shocked but happy that i support kerry and don't like bush. the guy at the travel agency (who thought i was a child of kennedy (aka peace corps)) told me that he thought that bin laden was actually bush's vice president since he helped him out so nicely before the election with the release of the tape and always finds a good time to pop up. and bush of course is helping bin laden's recruitment like no one else possibly could. interesting thought, though i think they probably hate each other but they do need each other. after all, if you don't have an enemy, it's pretty hard to promote all that goes along with religious fundamentalism.
well, off to the bank! wish us luck!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

reunion time

the past few days have been exhausting. sidy and i have managed to get air france to promise a refund of most of his money on his ticket since they were requiring transit visas from france and the usa (at a cost of more than 40 bucks each and at least a week of time each) and plus they had no flights in december or january. the whole point of this is to get sidy to jamaica to see his girlfriend lynette, who leaves in january. so we now have a ticket on air maroc through canada, and have his application in for a transit visa through canada (at a cost of 10 bucks and who knows how long). his flight was supposed to go this morning, so i guess we'll have to rebook that one. and he might get 10 days in jamaica.

yesterday was good though, despite figuring out that this whole transhite visa thing was going to suck up some time and money and energy.

on our way downtown, we rode the moped (sore butt erich) past alhassan's house. he was there, having literally just arrived in france from touring with nahawa doumbia. alhassan was my drum teacher last time i was here and sidy was his apprentice. sidy has since moved on, and i was fearing a bit of a wierd interaction, but as seems to be the case in mali, you can have a huge falling out with someone and still seem completely normal around them. anyway it was good to see alhassan and his family, he has another daughter who looks just like his first one did when i was here before.

after we got the ticket in the morning, then we go to the canadian embassy where the woman assures us the transhite visas are only for european countries and the usa (implying nicely that those countries couldn't control security at their airports). canada doesn't do such a thing. shortly after we left on a huge high, she called and said, nope in special circumstances (ie if you are an african trying to travel outside of africa) you need a transhite visa.

after going back to get the application and talking to lynette in jamaica, sidy and i set off to try and find m'ba (my dance teacher from last trip). eventually we found her and her husband tièfourou and their kids in a 'house' way up on the hill beyond doumanzana where i am staying. she saved up some money and bought the land and the stuff to build the house for her, her mom, her family and some other folks. amazing. it was also great to see her and her family, there house is so nice and quiet up on the hill looking over bamako and the suburbs near me. they both work with a dance troupe in doumanzana and are getting ready for the regional selections which will lead the top artists into the regional troupes for the bienal coming up in the summer of 2005. make your travel plans now. anyway, i'm going to try and work with them a bit to study up, also sidy is going to teach me some djembe stuff. i have to get back into dance, haven't danced since i left boston, and joh and his company are having/just had a big show that i ditched for this trip. i've got to get back in shape for when i get back home!

more funny stuff - the horn in the sotreman we were in one of these days. sotremans are the green european delivery vans stripped down to the metal. benches are placed around the edge, giving enough room for about 8-10 people, if you're in the american mentality. here, it's normal to have 20 stuffed in the back. anyway, sidy and i were riding up front with the driver, and there were two bare wires sticking out of the dash. the driver would occasionally grab them both at the same time and activate the horn. great stuff. especially since the use of the horn seems so arbitrary to me here. honk to pass, honk to say hi, honk to honk, honk at animals in the road etc etc

oh yeah, and in case i was vague earlier, when i wrote you all and said i wasn't doing individual emails, i was referring to writing my stories down in email. i'll happily respond to your emails to thanks to those of you who have wrote here or to my email, i love getting notes from home.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

i skate for jesus

it's the little things that really make africa africa and make me smile.
today, my friend sidy is wearing his 'i skate for jesus' shirt. cause it looks good. not cause of the message, mind you. great stuff. i love it. i tried explaining skateboards and the rest, but to no real avail. when he gets to the us or jamaica, hopefully, he'll sort it all out.
we've been running around the past couple days trying to sort out his visa situation so he can get to jamaica and visit his girlfriend. hectic. so glad it's not me in his shoes. african travel. wow.
not too much time today, so i'll just share the other funny thing. yesterday, i was watching tv at issa's house with his parents and some other folks at the house. they were watching a broadcast from mecca, as the hadj is upcoming so there is tons of publicity to get people to go. so we watch tons of people praying around the kabah. when the prayers are over, the programming becomes the african music videos and the first video is one shot in a malian village, showing a goat sacrifice and tons of animist imagery. great. and then even better, the next song is a senegalese sabar video with clothes coming off. everyone at the house loved all of it. i love the inherent contradictions in everything and that it is all embraced.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

2 sides

this whole trip for me i think is going to be a 2 sided experience. starting with the filming of the 2 sides 2 everything film, and continuing on. for example, i've just been checking out some photos from jb and mindy's wedding or check out jb's site and type code 101004 to see all pictures. all the while sitting doing internet at the sofitel hotel at a rate of 4000 cfa/hour as opposed to yesterday at the mali internet cafe for 500cfa/hour. today though i have high speed connection and working mice and printers. whee. for ten times the price. not an everyday luxury to be sure.
today i'm headed to usaid to start trying to get some money for calabash projects here in mali. we'd like to be able to sell all the releases in mali worldwide as downloads and have the money come back to the artists here all while working with the government to promote tourism and the malian music industry via these sales and festivals.
yesterday was about hanging out with friends. saw moussa's family, issa's family and ran around town with sidy for a while hanging with his friends. i'll be headed with him to check out the troupe district du bamako rehearsal tomorrow and see baissa, the director and dance teacher there. i was so exhausted after just running around yesterday that i crashed last night at 10 after watching liverpool defeat olympiakos in the champions league and didn't get up until 8 this morning. i'm realizing again that if you are out of the toubab resort expensive hotels, you have to drink lots of water to stay active. crazy that.
i think i am going to start retroactively posting and dating some entries on this blog, so look further down for new stuff.

more mali

there is another post by jamie on the one giant leap site called goodbye mali, hello paris. i'll have to post a day by day of their time here when i get a chance to compare/contrast.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

2 sides 2 everything

well, the first part of my trip in mali is done, and i'm moving on to the next part. i'm sitting in an internet spot in fajiguila with sidy maiga, who some of you know. big hello from him to you.
the 1 giant leap guys left on monday night after an exhausting and productive trip here. we got film and audio of rokia traore in her village, oumou sangare in her hotel, ramata diakite on her roof, masks in safo, and tons of other great stuff. it was quite a trip working with the guys. despite the existence of a confidentiality agreement, i've got some photos and videos, as the film will enter post production in may after they visit another 18 countries and the film is scheduled to be finished in may of 2006. check their website and bulletin board for more info - check out the 'love from mali' post by jamie catto, the director, for his take on the trip. our gear will definently have to be 'hoovered' to get the dust out, this country is dry now and between safo and the masks there and rokia' village, there was tons of dust. my gear didn't go to safo, so it'll be a little cleaner.
the guys were staying at the sofitel in the center of the city at 78,000 cfa a night. wow. also staying there was rokia traore, ba cissoko and group, a bunch of military soccer teams in town for the CAM tournament. mali plays guinea in the semifinal tomorrow, bamako will be crazy.
the coulibaly house is great, they are all doing well.
it's quite biizzare doing email now. i've got a bunch of messages regarding fiji and i'm sitting in mali. both beautiful places, but very different. and tough to try and be mentally in more than one place.
last night was great, sitting on the roof of the coulibaly house looking out at the neighborhood as the sun set. all the red in the soil just goes off, and the sky also lit up. the trees go deep green, and the colors on the houses also go deep. amazing.
i start trying to get the calabash stuff lined up tomorrow, but first have to go buy some nice malian clothes since i didn't bring nice western clothes. then off to usaid and various government ministries. ramata is going to do some introducing and i've left info with oumou sangare.
i'm trying to email and blog at the same time, and having a tough go of it as the mouse works only about once out of every 10-20 clicks. grrrrr.
so, time is up, but i've found the internet cafe now, so i'll be back soon . . .
love to all.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


i made it to mali after 3 nights of consecutive red eyes. nice.
hit the ground running yesterday after being met at the airport by both sekou and ba coulibaly on tuesday night. nice to be back at the coulibaly house though. wednesday morning (yesterday) i got to the hotel d lamite in bamako and met the film crew and started lining things up. got some stuff yesterday and some today, we're going out now to get more. much more later, probably on tuesday when the film crew is gone. love to all!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

2 sides day 1

i got to bamako tonight after a grueling trip halfway across the globe. as my father said, if you drilled a hole in a globe from fiji to mali you'd just barely miss the center of the earth. i arrived on a flight from paris with the egyptian national military soccer team, headed to bamako for the african military soccer championships. i sat next to their translator, and gave him a couple bambara phrases to get him started. arriving in bamako, there were tons of soldiers and some drummers (one of whom i found out later was sidy) playing for the soccer teams' arrival. senegal also arrived on a flight around the same time. passing through customs was pretty easy as i expected in mali. no big hassles getting luggage or anything and always a nice smile after i go into my bambara greetings. both sekou and ba were at the airport to greet me, and it was really nice to see them both. after sekou and i made arrangements to meet jamie and duncan at hotel d l'amite tomorrow, i headed to doumanzana with ba. once at the coulibaly house, i found that ma and nafi were out at a wedding in kayes and abdoulaye was sick in bed. so it was actually easy to get to bed fairly shortly after arriving after hanging out with the kids for a while. good to be back in another house that seems like home.

Friday, November 26, 2004

last night in fiji

tonight is the last night in fiji. =(
last night was a great show. the first show of the
week that was open to the public and somewhat
affordable for the locals (10 dollars fijian, about $6
or $7). it was packed and lots of fun. black rose
( and edou played, and
laisa did a guest appearance.
tonight should be a lot of fun as well, as we've got
most of the audio and video that we need, so the crew
will get the night off and be able to have a nice
dance party as well. yeah!
and start making your plans for next year, as we hope
that this is the first of 5 festivals in fiji! come on
out for a great party and some great times. i'm going
to head out of the cafe and enjoy the rest of my trip
in fiji outside! the band heartbeatz has offered to
pick up the calabash crew in nadi (the airport town)
in between our flights (from savusavu to nadi and nadi
to lax) and take us around the sights there in
exchange for a rough cut of their performance on CD. i
think that can be arranged.
so, thanks to all for writing - jan, christine, dad,
thanks for posting. i'll try and post some pictures in
my short time back in boston.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

happy turkey day!

hello everyone, and happy thanksgiving!
it's hard to imagine it is thanksgiving at home. i'm in my bathing suit and a fiji style floral print shirt and sandals on a humid cloudy day here in suvasuva.
talking up the guys in the internet cafe about calabash, spreading the good word.
we've had a busy week, and it is just going to get more and more crazy until we leave.
sunday and monday we recorded string bands at 2 of the resorts. they play a style of music they call "sigidigi" due to the fact that it is played around a kava bowl, and in between songs, the musicians and others sitting around drink bowls of kava. kava is a drug, in a sense, that basically relaxes you, numbs your lips and gums, etc. good stuff. and a huge part of the culture here in fiji.
one of the groups, the samoi serenaders from the koro sun resort, will be on the BBC on friday on the global hit segment of the world news hour. check them out! (and check out our work!)
tuesday, wednesday and thursday, we recorded concerts at koro sun featuring one of the 3 big bands that are here for the festival; Edou, Black Rose, Heartbeatz and Laisa Vulukoro (the last 2 shared a bill).
lots of fun, lots of work. one person we forgot to have here was a music director/stage manager/band liaison, so i got to put some of my past experience to bear here and help out with that stuff.
tonight and tomorrow black rose, edou and laisa will be performing at the hot springs hotel. tonight is a public show, tomorrow private. we've been promised insanity, so we'll see what happens. this town maybe sees one or two live shows a year, so everyone is coming out, everyone in town knows about the shows.
i need to run, as always. i'm off to help record a little side acoustic session with laisa's nephew, a great singer/guitarist.
much love to you all, thank you to you for supporting me in this work i'm doing. i'm thankful for that, and took some time yesterday under a cabana on the beach to just be thankful for all i've got, even if i don't have a turkey here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

working hard in paradise . . .

Savusavu, the town where we are staying, is called "Hidden Paradise" by the locals. Apt.
I think i said something about this last time i posted as well. we've been having a great time. and working hard. really hard. i know that you all feel sorry for me, but it's true!
sunday, after our cruise in the bay on a 52 ft yacht and snorkel (mind blowingly great, better than anything i've ever seen), we went and did our first recording. a 5 piece string band (3 guitars, 1 ukelele, 5 singers). we got a nice recording, which will be on the BBC this friday (american time). i'm not sure of the show, but it's the one that features some world music at the end of the show.
monday, another string band recording, and then on tuesday, we started with the big live concerts. CSM, the video guys here, have 2 crews of Fijian camerman shooting the shows with 4 cameras, doing live mixes. all pretty crazy. and of course, this being the developing world, none of the technology works exactly right, so we've been doing a lot with duct tape, chewing gum and chicken wire (well, not really, but you know . . . )
i've been getting in the water most days, which is very nice. today, we're off to a big ceremony with the big chief on the island. should be pretty amazing. so, i should get going, because we leave in a few minutes and i have to go back to the hotel and figure out how to wear a sulu (skirt) cause everyone has to be in a skirt in these village ceremonies.
much love to you all.
vi naka.

Friday, November 19, 2004

bula bula!

i made it to paradise. i'm sitting in an internet cafe in savusavu, an island in fiji. after a nice day with my parents and grandma in san juan, getting down the beach a few times for walks, lunch and a sunset, we grabbed dinner and headed to LAX. if you haven't flown out of the international terminal there, don't. it's insane. thousands of people running around looking for baggage screening, check ins, whatever. total chaos. we made it through everything, i met up with brad, and we met 4 of the folks from CSM who are producing the festival who were flying with us. our 2 sound guys barely made the flight, but we did.
we got to sit up in the bubble of the 747 (economy class), but i had my own row, so that was cool. 10 hours, 45 minutes later, we touched down in fiji. they planned it well, with our arrival coinciding with the sunrise, so we got a nice view of the islands as we were landing. once we cleared customs (without the sound guys' equipment, which didn't make the transfer in LAX), we headed for a hotel, for a quick R&R. napped, showered, ate, hung out in the beautiful sun, and then we headed back to the airport for a quick 1 hour flight to savusavu, where the festival will be. checked in at our hotel here, wandered downtown, found the internet cafe (ran by germans), and am writing this now.
basically, fiji is paradise. looking out my hotel balcony, i see a nice nice nice view. a bay surrounded by green mountains. don't worry, i got pictures and video.
so, i'm going to run now, we're off to a production meeting, then a BBQ dinner, then collapse. we're 20 hours ahead of the west coast, 17 hours ahead of boston.
tomorrow, we're headed on a short cruise on a yacht. apparently, the mayor of savusavu was upset that we were coming all this way just to work, so he cut one day off the festival, and set up this yacht tour for us. and at some point, we may end up on jacque cousteau's son's private island and resort. sweet.
oh yeah, and the fruit is great. been eating it like crazy.
much love to you all, and more later!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

back on the road . . .

i'm back on the road now, sitting at my parent's house in the OC, getting a few hours with them and my grandmother. arrived yesterday and leaving tonight for fiji!
it has been a crazy past few day, with JB's party, my party and packing everything up. i must say, i have some great friends. thanks to all of you who helped out, driving me to the airport, giving me thoughtful last minute gifts, and most of all, thank you to all of you who have encouraged me on this crazy journey i'm undertaking. thanks to all of you who called me over the past few days, it has been a wonderful reason to reach out to some old friends and good friends and just have good conversations with many of you. i'm sorry if i was at all not there on the phone, sometimes i was trying to do too many things at once. but your calls all meant a lot to me. my cell phone is getting shut off on friday, so i won't be able to get messages, but my phone number will be activated once i get back to the states in january (if i can battle it all out well with sprint . . .).
my grandmother (the one who had the masectomy) is doing great. she doesn't at all look like she had major surgery not even 2 weeks ago. that she is here, embarking on her own journey of a few weeks in california, is amazing. she's upstairs now doing her daily exercises, and then we're down to the beach to walk around a bit. it's a beautiful day in sunny southern california (if you can get past the smog), and we're going to take advantage of it.
i'm hoping to have regular internet access in fiji, but we'll see! let the fun begin!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

party plan change!

ok, so i know it says that my party in on the 12th on friday. but it won't
my friend JB is having a birthday party on friday and i am not stepping on
his big orange toes.
sooo, the party will be on saturday, the 13th.
9 pm onwards
email for directions.
bring a big happy face for big happy times! and music to share, of course.
see you there!

"The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice"
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

back in the USSA

back in boston for a bit.
made it back on sunday, and didn't even get my customary hassling from the customs guys in boston. which was good cause then i got to see my parents for 5 minutes. they were in boston for the weekend, and headed out on a flight from the same terminal. nice.
and then yesterday back to "work", as i like to call it. i can't believe it. so fun. get to play with music all day and have a great time. whee!
and i had some thoughts to put up here, but i'm forgetting them. anyway, off to get ready for "work."
bis spater.

back in the USSA

so i made it back home, and even made it through customs in boston without any hassles. this is a first for me. they always want to give me grief in boston. and thank god they didn't, cause i got out of customs in time to see my parents for 5 minutes. they were in town to see the boston symphony and my sister, and were leaving from the same terminal as me shortly after i arrived. nice.
i got to give them renate's presents and talked with them a bit.
and back to work yesterday. yup, calabash. did i mention that it's my job!?!
great. i will be so psyched once this thing starts paying. so psyched.
i had some great ideas about things to post here, but they're eluding me at this hour. hopefully they'll come back and i'll put up another post today.
bis spater.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


i finally found a hotspot! yeah! adventures of small sorts are fun. i'm sitting now in some old dark pub like restaurant with a hotspot. got to download all my mail onto my computer and send out some contracts from our work at a highly successful WOMEX last week. i've got about 70 new cds to bring back, and we'll soon have another few hundred artists up on

and my grandma is ok, as far as things can be. the 3 lymph nodes they didn't remove, but biopsied are for now cancer free, and she'll probably just have to take medicine daily, but no chemo and no radiation! gott sei dank.

however, i'm trying to hide from the other news from the US, namely that my united states exists no more. some other folks have taken over control, and bent the minds of millions of others. friedman at the times had a great piece today.

i'm going to berlin saturday, home sunday and for all of you in boston, come over to my place on friday night, the 12th, for a little party. if you need directions, email me. pass the word as well. i'm only home for 9 days.

i'm having a good time, playing with my friends kids, walking around scenic little hansa stadt towns, eating great bread and pastries, drinking good beer. good times. and my german is coming back in fits and starts which makes life fun and interesting. i can't do basic things with strangers, but i can carry on some pretty good and deep conversations with my host family, the kirsches.

i even found a group of "african" drummers here in town. pretty simple stuff, but fun nonetheless. and it made renate (my host mom/grandma) super happy, so that was also fun to watch.

hope you are all well, see you soon!

Friday, October 29, 2004

hello from germany!

ok, im at womex on the free email machines and the german keyboards dont have an apostrophe in the right place so im just ignoring them. bear with me.
womex is crazy. i havent stopped going since i got to essen on wed eve. tired legs and a tired mind. but good for business.
lots of new records for the site, some new partnerships, and deepening of our existing ones.
and, before i forget - GO RED SOX!!!!
(and someone tell curt shilling that hes got to go since he endorsed bush. thanks for the championship now get the hell out of town)

also, continue to hold my grandmother in your prayers. she has aggressive cancer in a couple lymph nodes. thank you. boppee - i love you!

more later.

Monday, October 25, 2004

send thoughts and prayers to buffalo

and to make this trip all the more interesting, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer last thursday. meaning she's going to have a masectomy this thursday. nothing like finding this stuff out and having your life change in a second. i'm not sure if that's good to have a week to think about a life and body altering surgery or just having it happen right away.
anyway, my sister is going to see my grandmother. i wish i could be there and will be sending my thought and prayers to my grandmother. please send yours as well!
she is an amazing woman, an amazing inspiration and great guide in life. i have faith that she'll make it through this, but it is a very scary proposition nonetheless.
couple sites:
commercial looking foundation
another non-profit

getting ready to go!

fedex finally delivered my plane ticket for my flight tomorrow. i found a door tag today and had to go over to fedex to pick up my ticket. what a pain. but at least i don't have to deal with affidavit's of non-receipt at the airport. that sounds like a total hassle.
in 24 hours i'll be in the air headed to amsterdam. then a train to essen. then the conference. then off to greifswald to visit the kirsch family. then back to boston for a quick stop.
i'm still not packed at all, and have some other stuff to do. it's going to be a long night. good thing terry is around to share late night order in food with.
crazyness abounding. so much to do, it'll be a relief to finally get on the plane.

Monday, October 18, 2004

what am i doing?

no, this is not a post to examine the existential questions about my life. i sent out an email to a bunch of people about this blog, and a couple people asked me what i was going to be doing on my travels. so, here is a quick overview.
i leave soon for my first trip. this one is to germany for WOMEX, a conference for world music folks. this is for Calabash.
then i'm home for about 10 days. (just time to host a party for those of you in boston)
then off to fiji to record this South Pacific World Music Festival. we're going to license and record all the music that gets played there, and check out what other opportunities exist there on those islands for music to distribute.
then pretty much straight to Mali. i'm going for a few reasons. first, to help these guys record a new film. if you haven't seen 1 Giant Leap, you need to.
then i'm going to try and hook up some deals for Calabash and see my friends in Mali and take some dance lessons and remind myself of the rest of the world that is out there beyond our borders.
it should all be lots of fun and new experiences. needless to say, i'm pretty excited about the whole thing. i should be back in the states in january.

fiji baby!

so this is what we're going to record in fiji. can't wait - get that sunscreen ready!
now we just have to get our site back up and running after a server flameout this weekend. not a good thing to have happen right now.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

lazy sunday

t minus 9 days! off to germany for WOMEX soon soon. my plane ticket is still not here cause they had my old address in the system when i booked my frequent flyer ticket. but apparently i can still get a ticket if i fill out an affidavit at the airport. we'll see.
and i have to get my passport back from the malian embassy before i get on any plane. hopefully that comes back early this week so i have one less thing to worry about.
basically, i think it's a question now of packing the right bags and making sure i have all the presents i need for people. my folks are being very good about making sure i'm remembering all those details.
that and trying to not think about the red sox and our position in the alcs. not pretty. and no less painful than last year. damn those mfys.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

testing comments

so anyone is supposed to be able to comment on my blog now. but this is still in the testing phase. this is supposed to be so that when i'm away and post something, anyone can comment or reply to my post. but we'll see what actually happens. last trip i was going to use my yahoo account, but found out it took forever to actually load yahoo in Mali, but that hotmail worked quickly. so we'll see if blogger is even an option in germany, fiji and mali. it would be fun . . . .

getting ready to go!

i'm getting all ready to go. sent in my visa application for mali today. buying voltage converters and thinking about what else i need to get before i leave. all very exciting! and a bit nerve wracking as well.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

So this space will soon be occupied by my travel journal . . .
I'm going to try getting on this site from foreign lands and updating my family and friends with this site, rather than the emails I sent last time via my father (bless him for his work!).
Also, this should be a fun, interactive way to share the travel with a whole group of friends. Gave the 2 week notice today, going to Germany in 21 days, Fiji in 44 days, and Mali in 60 (inshallah). Got to get the visa machine crankin'
to bed to bed now.

Monday, April 12, 2004

here is a real blog -
Daily Kos :: Political Analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation.
Cost of War
as if anyone needed more rationale as to why we should not have gone to war in iraq and why we need to refocus on building a better country and better society and let that be our weapon to fight terrorism and hate.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

* News Update *
>SPAIN: Police identify five new Moroccan suspects in Madrid train bombings that killed 201 people.
>GAZA STRIP: Israeli helicopters fire missiles at building & two cars in Gaza City, killing at least two people.
>OH: Police are searching for 28-yr-old man they believe was gunman in two dozen highway shootings.
>BORDER FIGHT: Pakistani troops kill 24 suspects in crackdown on al-Qaida & Taliban fugitives in tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.
>FRANCE: Reports say officials are investigating threats against country by radical Islamic group.
>IRAQ: Two U.S. Army medics apply for conscientious objector status & want to be honorably discharged from military.
(c)2004 DATACAST(R)
* News Update *
>SPAIN: Police reportedly now suspect at least six Moroccans took part in Madrid train bombings that killed over 200 people.
>GAZA STRIP: Israeli helicopter fires missiles at building, killing two Palestinians & wounding 14.
>OH: Authorities say man wanted by police in string of highway sniper attacks has history of mental illness.
>PAKISTAN: Paramilitary troops storm compound w/ machine-gun fire, killing 24 suspects in crackdown on al-Qaida & Taliban fugitives.
>IRAQ: Drive-by gunmen kill two Europeans working on water project south of Baghdad.
>D.C.: Pres. Bush argues in new campaign ad that John Kerry has turned his back on U.S. soldiers engaged in war.
(c)2004 DATACAST(R)
* News Update *
>TALKS: European Union will hold security talks on Fri. to assess what additional anti-terrorism measures to take in wake of bombings in Spain.
>N.Y.: Martha Stewart resigns from board & as chief creative officer of Martha Stewart Living.
>Two Unitarian Universalist ministers are charged for marrying 13 same-sex couples.
>ISRAEL: PM Ariel Sharon rules out peace negotiations w/ Palestinians.
>D.C.: White House suggests that John Kerry had lied when he said some foreign leaders privately back his candidacy.
>SPAIN: Leader of victorious Socialists says he will withdraw his nation's support for U.S.-led occupation of Iraq.
(c)2004 DATACAST(R)

Sunday, February 29, 2004

leadership is exhausting. for the past 10 years, i have been in positions of leadership within pretty much every organization i have been a part of. when you're a leader, you take shots from all sides. from below, from above, from the side. still, even knowing this, it doesn't make it easier. and when you're in a group that supposedly has some ideological underpinnings and ideas to bring people together, it seems that these shots you take are that much more personal and serious.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

3 days off. whee ha! now to catch up on life, bills, friends, dance, sleep, cleaning, everything. and then back on to the campaign trail. and almost one whole day down and the only thing that has happened is i've done some cleaning and updated my computer to protect it against these new viruses. maybe tomorrow will be a little more productive . . .

Thursday, January 29, 2004

too tired to really post much. i'm working on a hospital campaign, organizing the whole dang hospital. long hours, tough work. and some fun standing outside handing out leaflets at shift change in the freezing cold. one old white man gave me the finger from inside his volvo tank without having the balls to actually look at me while he insulted me. i hope he could hear me laughing through his steel doors and nordic windows. another old white man took the flyer and thought he was threatening me by telling me he'd take it right to management. as if they hadn't read the first dang flyer to hit the streets. whatever.
but some other old white men gave me a bit of hope for myself and other white boys as we age. one guy came out and told us he'd already given out a stack to other workers inside, and could he have some more. nice.