Two men in sharp suits have crossed my path this March. At one end of the scale, there was Hariton Pushwagner, but more of him later… At the other end, there was Boubacar Traoré from Mali who came to Lantaren Venster, our stylish independent cinema, concert and event space here in Rotterdam to play on a cold Sunday in March.
I had no camera on the day, but thanks to Flickr and a creative commons license, I found some great images of the sharp suit taken by Stuart Madeley at WOMAD 2012. I love that brick-builder’s pattern. Could it be my fascination with Tetris speaking to me?
The mellow voice, the rhythms of Africa so expertly drawn out of a Western guitar, and the percussion played on half an upturned calabash by Babah Kone warmed heart and mind, but it was Vincent Bucher, the man on the harmonica, who made the magic. Generally, the harmonica leaves me cold, but that Sunday afternoon I realized I’ve never heard it played properly before. In the hands of Vincent Bucher, the harmonica summoned spirits out of the desert night that snatched me away from everyday Rotterdam to dream of stars and sand and empty space. I sank back in my over-sized seat at Lantaren Venster and imagined hearing the music at night under a million stars at the Festival in the Desert. Far away from the damp and cold winter in the north.
If you have access to iTunes, there are tracks to be sampled and briefly enjoyed. The latest album from Kar Kar is Mali Denhou (Youth of Mali).
Kar Kar’s fortunes have been up and down over his long career. In this ten-minute video, he talks about the music, a bit about his early life, and shows us snatches of his farm somewhere in Mali. To be enjoyed with a good coffee.