Friday, September 20, 2013


I am looking out over the familiar view from my Ladbroke Grove window. In the foreground the library, in the distance Trellic Tower providing  the iconic skyline of my Notting Hill. I will leave in a little over a week.  Soon my feet will once more touch the soil of my  beloved Africa.
I am listening to ‘Buena vista Social Club’ for the first time since 2005. This music is forever linked to this view and this my London flat in my mind.  It was the soundtrack to my impossible love affair during the hot summer of 2005: a passionate, overwhelming but ultimately doomed affair which I misunderstood for love. At Christmas time 2005 when I left for Mali with my 8 friends nothing remained except pain and a wish to go far, far away...
Before leaving for our holiday I wrote in my diary:
It is Christmas Eve 2005, nearly 6 in the morning. I  will go to Africa on Boxing Day. Maybe I won’t come back. Something will happen in Africa, I think- something which will change, or end my life. ‘
I was right. Something did happen in Africa. I found a totally new life which lay there, waiting for me to discover it.
If you ever read this, You, my impossible love of 2005, please know that it was all necessary and good. If it had not been for you I would never have left to discover my new life. Therefore I am eternally grateful to you, and I can listen to 'El Carretero' and ‘Candela’ now with nothing but  love and happiness in my heart although as I am writing this my face is wet with tears of amazement over the indescribable beauty of the divine twists and turns of life.


Blogger David said...

Such is life, says he sententiously. A brick wall magically parts; all things pass, and usually for the better. Though few people are as adaptable and open to adventure as you; and none has greater will power to achieve the seemingly impossible.

This is what reading Steinbeck does for me but you give me licence. See you in a couple of hours' time in the old haunt!

5:04 PM  
Blogger Susan Scheid said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Susan Scheid said...

Over my way, David made the comment, about Shostakovich, "What an unquenchable genius for self-renewal." The same clearly applies to you!

5:51 PM  
Blogger Howard Lane said...

I'm sure you know that what became the Buena Vista Social Club album came about because Malians Djelimady Tounkara and Bassekou Kouyate were meant to go to Cuba to record with Ry Cooder and Cuban musicians. They couldn't get visas so Ry made the Cuban music album instead, and the rest as they say is history.

1:57 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

How amazing Howard! I didn't know that. The Cuban music is very suitable to Mali of course- and there is a fabulous African interpretion of this sort of music by AFRICANDO, a fluid group of musicians of West Africa.But you know that of course!

4:43 PM  
Blogger Howard Lane said...

No I haven't come across Africando but I will check them out. There is more on Nick Gold's work with both Cuban and Malian musicians here:

11:21 AM  
Blogger Marianne said...

Beautiful story.

3:58 AM  
Blogger Marianne said...

Beautiful story.

3:59 AM  

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