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Stories

Different perspective on being a musician.

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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.”

Tanzania story.

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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.”

Burundi

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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!

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Mushrooms!

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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! 13957651_1309290532422038_1185764978_n DSC03839

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Speaking in Tongues

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This morning I was stopped in my tracks by this powerful piece of art in Chichester Cathedral from Paul Benney called ‘Speaking in Tongues.’ He has ‘”depicted the apostles as people who are known to him – friends and contemporaries. ……………… from different ethnicities and religious backgrounds together, as they collectively experience a profound spiritual awakening.” Read More

Uganda story

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Friends Marcus and Ellen (Sweden) told me this story about when they were travelling on a local bus in Uganda with a pastor. They got off and gave 500 to the pastor for the journey – the bus driver suggested that the pastor could have charged 1000 and kept the money because they are mzungus (white people) and they don’t know the price. The pastor says that if you charge the correct fare to the mzungus then you will be blessed. The driver is not convinced and drives off but a few stops later the whole bus empties and another group of people fill the bus – another stop later the same thing happens – this means the bus driver gets a lot more money than he expects – he is amazed saying this has never happened before – and he asks who were these mzungus that have caused this blessing to happen – the pastor replies that they are men and woman of God. He is overheard later telling other bus drivers of his meeting with the people of God and the blessing that he encountered!

How long will the priest preach?

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DSC02758I found this curious sand hourglass in a church on Skaftö Island, Sweden. In days past, an hourglass was turned when the priest started preaching. Apparently, if he didn’t finish before the sand ran out, permission was given for people to leave the church!

Book review

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The Heart of everything that is – Bob Drury & Tom Clavin

This book is more than the story of Red Cloud, the great Sioux warrior; it is a history of the Great Plains, chronicling the story of the land and it’s tribes. The ancient way of life is forced to change as a trickle of pioneers from the East coast turns to a rush of settlers to the gold fields in the West. This book is an incredibly honest narrative of the men and woman behind the stories of intrigue, councils, trade, betrayal and confrontation.

Latcho Drom

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Enjoy this fantastic French documentary called Latcho Drom (“safe journey”) that brings a little insight into the journey of the Romany people through musicians and dancers (there is very little dialogue). I love how the musical sound and styles have evolved as the communities have wandered from India, to Egypt, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, France, and Spain.