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.

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