Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Musical Madness and Inexcusable Decadence in Bamako

It started yesterday about 4pm when Ann had a sudden overwhelming urge to mop the floor.
There is Oscar for such things, but Ann told me that sometimes she needs to re- establish contact with her domestic self. When this happens she puts on music and the mop becomes her dancing partner. Her happy musical choice was Marianne Faithfull’s ‘Broken English’, which propelled me too out of my afternoon slumber.

Is there anything as powerful as suddenly hearing much loved but long forgotten music?

Patti Smith followed with her great album of cover versions – Gimme Shelter, Soul Kitchen etc.
By the time The Velvet Underground had serenaded us over supper we had entered into a state of unstoppable euphoria and decided we had to go out on the town.
Bamako nightlife with its empty bars and night spots welcomed us, the only toubabs left. We had whisky and coke at The Diplomate which was offering Mande music; a beautiful Griotte in diamante platform shoes sang to the accompaniment of a band of electric gonis. .
Continuing on to the Terrace we sang old Rolling Stones numbers in the car at the top of our volume, but couldn’t remember the lyrics to ‘Paint it Black’ to our great frustration. Nevermind, the DJ at the empty Terrace had computerized equipment, so we just tapped it in: Paint it Black, and there it was: 'I see a Red Door and I want to Paint it Black...No Colours Anymore I want them to turn Black Fantastic strength, big loud speakers, an empty dancefloor and all the music in the world just for us!

We had some more whisky and coke and the only other person present, an old man in the corner of the vast bar (the Lebanese owner it turned out)joined us when we found Morrison Hotel and the three of us jived madly to Road House Blues:
The future's uncertain
And the end is always near.
Let it roll, baby, roll.
Let it roll, all night long.

No Pixies available alas, and no Iggy Pop. However, we consoled ourselves with Smells like Teen Spirit and jumped up and down so wildly that I broke the heal on my shoe and had to walk barefeet through the warm Bamako night when the Lebanese owner invited us to continue as his guests to the night club Byblos. (The Lebanese Owner had lived in Bamako for ten years but had never heard of Djenne!) Byblos was empty apart from a bouquet of ladies of the night who draped themselves enthusiastically around our escort, who is a habitué at this nightspot it appeared. He showed off his two toubab ladies happily, got behind the bar and made us Mojitos.. and we danced and danced some more ….


Blogger David said...

Senior rockers dancing on the volcano - and why on earth not? Glad to hear you're in good spirits.

5:30 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

'Senior Rockers!'
Yes I suppose so...but that makes us sound as if we're in Zimmerframes!

7:12 PM  
Blogger Susan Scheid said...

So now I have a glimmer what toubab means! I did wonder about that. I love, too, the great wonder of life that your recounting of a wonderful evening (starting with a mop-dance, no less) has lifted up my day here! So, I'm off to a concert tonight myself for which I've been waiting with breathless anticipation for several weeks. If you want to know what my favorite rock band is, BTW, performing tonight, just click here.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Gilliane said...

What a BRILLIANT post !!! Love, Gilliane xxx

9:06 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

I will I will! Just waiting to go back to Europe with good connections so I can hear it!
And I also like classical music, Susan, although I am an aficionado. I always have big rows with David, whose taste in music is of course quite rarified. I accuse him of not understanding Rock music. He complains, for instance, that the Doors' music is too simple. But that is the point!The more spare and pared down the better. Rock music is understood by the body and the blood, not the head! But I do hope also that he will find us some tickets for some Schubert string quartets...

9:13 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

I mean I am NOT an aficionado!

9:14 PM  
Blogger Susan Scheid said...

Oh, you are too funny! I do hope we meet someday!

3:59 AM  
Blogger David said...

She always makes me sound like a terrible snob by harking on that one conversation, though I think I'm quite eclectic. Really. Mind you, I think the last time I bopped was to Kylie.

10:19 AM  
Blogger toubab said...

Ah, David, tut tut!
let's make friends...?
looking forward LOTS TO SEEING YOU SOON!

4:06 PM  
Blogger Susan Scheid said...

Oh, my, I do love the conversation going on here. Sophie, as David already knows, I am coming to England in July & am thrilled that it might afford an opportunity to meet David in person at last. Who knows, maybe it's possible we can all have a row about music together (with mops in hand, of course)? Meanwhile, I neglected to say, happy travels, once you are able to do so. I've got my eye on you, and do keep safe!

12:21 AM  
Blogger Susan Scheid said...

Oh, to David: who the h**k is Kylie? (This is coming from someone who has just been given lessons from several blogmates on who Roger Daltrey is.)

12:23 AM  
Blogger toubab said...

Dear Susan,
I believe he is talking about Kylie Minogue, although Lord knows she has never featured on MY musical map...Sniff. I can be be snobbish too when needs be. And yes indeed let's have a real live music battle in June!
P.S. You will understand by now, no doubt, that toubab means white person. Black person, by the way, is Farafin.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Susan Scheid said...

My mate (who seems to know about these things) came up with the same name! These words, toubab and Farafin, are beautiful. I feel so impoverished with only one language (and a bit of woefully atrophied German and French). I was thinking of this post again today, and laughing again. I think you might be the Cockeyed Optimist of Mali--but whatever, I'm very glad David has made this introduction & that, this second time around, I have you in my "list" where I will not lose sight of you again!

9:15 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home