la musique d’afrique

i’ve been lurking on okp… where carine, denis and others keep posting amazing music from the african diaspora. i’m overflowing with mp3s trying to name them all and not forget what is what and where it has come from. carine just started a music blog so there is more and more to come. her spot is the bomb. for real though.

i made it to karneval der kulturen on monday with the sun so i didn’t get to check out the parade. street fairs have gone global awhile back so i headed straight to the farafina stage, where music had been blasting since friday. tambours sans frontières was what i wanted to see and they were there in rare form (or maybe that’s everyday form for them). a group of drummers performing traditional music from congo-brazzaville but in reality the drummers come from angola and mali in addition to congo-brazzaville.

meiway, meiway, meiway(sp?) they sang harmonically drawing out a big crowd.

i looked around and spied the UN/benetton crowd of kids at the front of stage and in the back were several black families. odd that that is a strange sight to see. when my parents came to visit me in paris once, i realized how odd it is to see a black family in the city, doing the normal things that normal people do. black father, black mother, black child. a grown up black child, black mother, black father. and it is a rare sight to see unless you are specifically headed out to find it. and so despite whatever goes on a karneval-berlin style, it is a unique space for community. a space where absence does not go unnoticed.

families strewn across continents and communities reconstituted. and it’s nice to see places and spaces like that (cuz life is hard in germanee). most of the time, in the middle of european downtown capital chic or even anti-chic, it seems like there is only room allotted for marry in or stay out types of spaces for dark-skinned peoples, or perhaps, dance or be deported. seeing families together on a sunny holiday is a beautiful thing.

that’s the space i found at karneval. amid all of the bustling crowds of folks. i also found my japanese teacher. she called out my name and i greeted her with ohayo gozaimasu. i think i may have even bowed a little. in any case, it reminded me that this city is just too damn small. and that i shouldn’t be skipping class.


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