I had read the stories but it was a very moving experience visiting Tom Hendrix’s 30 year journey of building an incredible stone memorial honouring his great great Grandmother, Te-lah-nay. A young Yuchi teenager who was forced to walk to Oklahoma during the Trail of Tears. Having grown up by the Singing River in Alabama, the sound drew her back. So after escaping she spent 5 years walking back to her land. Each stone on the memorial wall represents one step of her journey. Also, the shape, height, and width of the wall changes to represent the various obstacles she encountered.
In a small coffee shop I came across the powerful art work of Daniel Finchum. This sequence of art “deals with past and present transgressions against the Hawaiian people and the land”.
Since 2003 Rebekah and I (under our charity ‘Voices from the Nations’) have been partnering with the Gogo tribe in central Tanzania. Recording their music has enabled the village to fund water projects and build a medical dispensary. During this process our dear friend and translator, Pastor Seth Gidiony (from the Ha tribe) has been our contact, constant help on the ground and guide through cultural differences. His wife Anastina (who is a medical support nurse) has had a number of health issues over the years and has recently found out she has a tumour in the stomach, and needs an immediate operation. She is also experiencing severe mental and emotional distress. Read More
Reminded today of a quote from a book ‘The Healing Drum” by Yaya Diallo.
“The star system I see in Western popular music goes very much against the standards of conduct for the village musician with which I was raised. The star does not give time to the community but to himself or herself. The star usually seeks to amaze people, not to care for them; to be admired and praised by the anonymous throngs, not to honour distinct individuals whose lives depend on one another in the community. It is forgotten that the reason for playing is to bring well-being to people. This is different from driving fans into ecstasies of overexcitement. Music should not be a means to building a personal cult. That is idolatry. My village tradition teaches that music is a calling greater than the individual. I can give my life to it if I love it. In serving this music, I can share with other people and contribute to their joy and health.”
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown” and he replied “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God, that shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way”, ‘so I went forth and finding the Hand of God and trod gladly into the night’.
Whilst traveling on a coach between Dar Es Salaam and Dodoma – there were endless TV soaps, which are loved by locals and always bring much laughter. Enjoyed this simple story ..
A coffee shop owner brags about a cat he has taught to do many things. He gathers his friends to show them all the wonderful things the cat can do. Everyone is very impressed until one of the guests throws a rat into the shop and the cat forgets its job and chases the rat. The guest says, “The cat may be able to be taught many things but he will never forget what he has been made for.”
Rob May from Community Albums invited myself and Phil Barker (bass player) to join him on a trip to Burundi to help train young musicians. Staying with the Salesians, a Catholic order whose focus is on schooling for children, Rob has been building a studio. One of the priests (a passionate guitarist) has been encouraging young musicians and then finding them work in the local bars and clubs. Over the years he has become a father to many, many musicians – in fact every night we visited a different club and he seemed to know all the musicians!Read More
It’s that time of the year here in Czech – some call it a national sport – mushroom picking! We have a couple of days off in the highlands and the forests are full of people with their hopeful baskets, apparently 70% of people go mushrooming at least once a year. A skill past down from generation to generation, but those of less experience beware – we saw some, only to find out that they were highly poisonous – think I’ll stick to fish and chips!