BBC Radio 3 announced the winners of their World Music Awards recently and to my great joy, K'Naan, orginally from Somalia but living in Canada now, was chosen at the "Best New Comer".
Debashish Bhattacharya from India won the Asia/Pacific album of the year..Debashish, the inventor of the 22 string Indian slide guitar is so deserving of this award...take a listen to one of his tunes, you will be mesmerized with his playing.
Camille, the young French singer, walked away with the award for Europe and I couldn't be happier! She's got a lovely,quirky singing voice and loves singing acapella at her live shows...you've got to take a quick listen to the song she won the award for, "Ta Douleur"
Camille - Ta Douleur
Uploaded by reumtalaveusho
And here's another Camille favorite of mine, "Au Port"... click on the title of the song for the video.
As you can tell, I love listening to "World Music" so if you have any recommendations, do send them my way, please!
And, now on to the Book of the Week:
Tropical Fish by Doreen Baingana
Written by: Doreen Baingana
Publisher: Harlem Moon
Format: Trade Paperback, 208 pages
Pub Date: September 2006
Tropical Fish details the coming of age of three sisters in Entebbe, Uganda after the fall of dictator Idi Amin. As we read about the sisters Christine, Patti and Rosa, we the readers, are commanded by Doreen Baingana's wonderful prose to consider how politics, faith, culture and the new AIDS epidemic impacted the lives of these three young ladies as they journeyed into adulthood.
Although all 8 stories are gems, there are three that stood out for me:
In "A Thank-You Note" Baigana uses a letter written by Rosa (the eldest of the three sisters) to her lover to tell us of the AIDS crisis in Africa. By having Rosa (who is now dying from AIDS) write the letter, Baingana does a terrific job of humanizing and personalizing this tragedy. The reader comes away from the story feeling angry that AIDS is such a big price to pay for a little adolescent promiscuity. The descriptions of dying from this dastardly disease are vivid and will stay in the reader's mind for a while to come.
(** I was reading a British volunteer's Ugandan Diary and she states that despite the raging AIDS epidemic in Uganda, it is very difficult to provide sex education in schools because workers or teachers are not allowed to discuss homosexuality or masturbation. Masturbation could possibly prevent a lot of teenagers from running out and having sex, but because a discussion of it is not encouraged, sexual promiscuity is rampant. You can read more of Lizs Diary here)
"Green Stones" is a beautiful story about a child (Christina), who believes with child-like innocence and optimism that because her father buys her mother jewels, he must love her mother very much...unfortunately her notions dispelled with the revelation of infedility and alcoholism. Passages where Christina dresses up in her mother's jewels and pretends to be her are very moving and will probably take you back to the time when you played dress-up. The author has done a great job of capturing the voice of a 7-year old in this story.
"Tropical Fish" deals with interracial love...here Christine gets a much older American boyfriend, Peter, who is an exporter of tropical fish. It is plain Christine doesn't love this man, but she goes along with the "romance" trying, in her own way, to figure out her place in society as a woman, and a black woman at that. With Peter, she has glimpses of a lifestyle her middle class African upbringing would never have been able to afford her...you see further glimpses of Christine trying to eke out her place in the world when she immigrates to the US and has to come to terms with being an African woman in a sea of Americans. In the final story, Christine returns to Uganda after 15 long years and tries once again to see where she fits in as an American-returned, African lady.
What is striking about all of these stories is that with the exception of the one story on AIDS, they do not focus on tragedy, poverty, war, famine, corruption and all the other things we have come to assoicate with Africa. Doreen Baingana wants us to see that there is another Africa that exists, one that the media won't allow us to see and in writing these stories she hopes to give alternatives to the media's negative narrative on the continent.