Friday, January 28, 2011

African Adventure

Second day here in Mali. Here to finish shooting a documentary on West African music for KSK (Kanega System Krush). The trip, so far, struggles to organize itself. First things first, find a house for the crew to reside while they live here for the next 5 to 8 weeks. Aja, our fearless leader has been here a week already trying to set something up, along with Eo his brother and a co-producer, and Shelly, his mother who naturally assumes the role of attempting to keep everyone healthy. She's well-stocked with all kinds of natural, herbal, and homeopathic remedies.

They've already been burned on one house and plan to file a police report to recover the 800 dollars ( French keyboard, no dollar sign) they gave to Lord of that particular land. They did find another house which we moved into last night. It's very palatial situated on a ridge near the edge of Bamako, what I would call the suburbs. This is a great location because it's slightly outside the devastingly intense air pollution that grips the city every afternoon. Bamako has, by far, the worst air pollution I've ever encountered as experienced by my 3 previous sojourns here. Now, they say it's much worse, but so far, it feels no worse to me than it has ever been.

Sibiri Samake, one of the KSK artists dropped by yesterday to hear his cd for the first time. He loved it. It's always very satisfying when the artist is pleased with the work that goes into getting their work recorded and mixed well. Anyone who read my Tape Op interview last year will recognize Sibiri as the musician we recorded at a studio here in Bamako when the electricity went haywire and destructively zapped two AKG 414 mics and brought down our Pro Tools LE rig.

So we moved into our new house last night. I was exhausted, so crashed out at 9:30 pm. Got up at 12:30 am, started the water for a cup of tea in an electric kettle I brought and it brought down the electricity for the whole house. It didn't just pop a breaker for one circuit, it took out everything. Found the master breaker box but it had a thick lock on it which resisted all efforts to snap it open. No electricity meant that our ceiling fans weren't working which meant that the mosquitos had nothing to prevent them from feasting on our flesh. I spent a sleepless night trying to convince my brother and sister mosquitos to find sustenance elsewhere. They just laughed, in their mosquito-like way, at the natural insect repellant I brought and applied. In the morning, Dave ( our head camera operator) popped the hinges off of the master circuit box and pressed the reset switch to restore our electricity. Powering down a few of the fans enabled us to boil water in the kettle. That was all the food we had. It tasted incredibly good. Today we set up the house with cooking utensils, kitchen supplies and whatever else we need to establish our home base.

Hopefully, we'll get to recording some music or filming before too long. The plan is also to record 6 or 7 albums while we're here. I have a post about my trip over all written up but it's at the new house several miles away. Stay tuned...

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