Monday, January 31, 2011

Philosophy of Making Tea

They have a particular tea making ritual here in Mali which we filmed today. This allowed me to use the Sound Devices 788 for the first time. The tea is strong green tea and sugar and is prepared a special way which we had the fellow making it explain. Americans call this Gunpowder tea but it's just simply tea to the Africans. It's made with a small silver tea pot on a small charcoal burner in the outer courtyard on the ground. I used a Rode mono shotgun mic on a boom stand for the close mic and set-up the Neumann stereo shotgun mic for ambience.

The 788 is even smaller than I described it yesterday - about a foot wide only about _ inches long and slightlt more than one rack space deep. Had it set for a 96k sample rate, 24 bit resolution with the time code at 29.97 non drop frame.

Our talent, the tea maker, took the opportunity to expound upon his philosophy of making tea which seemed broad enough to cover all areas of life. He spoke in Bamana and it was encapsulated and translated to me as:

¨If you're going to do something you should do it right, with consciousness, and by paying attention to what you're doing. To do something carelessly or improperly is to tell a lie. To do it right with good intention is the truth.¨

He went on to tell a common local parable: ¨One finger can not pick up a rock, you need help from all the fingers on the hand to pick up a rock.¨ Not sure how he connected that with making tea, maybe he was referring to the interdependence of everything? I thought he might be talking about working with groups.

Speaking of picking up rocks, another example of the local economy: an older woman was observed sifting dirt and sand. Asked what she was doing, she replied ¨Harvesting rocks.¨ She went on to explain that in about 5 or 6 months she will have enough rocks to make a truckload. They use them for construction. She'll get paid 1500 to 1700 CFAs ( about 30 - 35 dollars) per truckload.

News came through that our driver's wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy yesterday. His name is Mohammed after the prophet.

Other work included scouting a location for some music recording tomorrow. They found a nice, semi-secluded spot down on the banks of the Niger river.

Fired up our Pro Tools rig and powered it from our generator. A good thing we did, our voltage convertor which steps down the voltage from 220 to 110 wasn't working. Acquired a new one and we're now good to go.

Our herbologist showed me a good trick for dealing with mosquito bites. Immediately apply lavender essential oil to the bite and it won't itch. Worked well for me last night. Staying healthy is both a challenge and a key to sucessfully working in foreign climes.

I fly to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia the day after tomorrow to mix a concert for Bill Laswell's Material featuring Gigi.

1 comment:

  1. I'm really enjoying these posts, Oz. It sounds adventurous and inspiring.