Sunday, March 06, 2005

Dogon Dream

Well, O.K, it is snowing here too. Just enough to powder the crown of the Ventoux, and the mistral is busy blowing it all off. Ha Ha!

I've only been home a week and I'm already thinking about traveling. Not touring. Traveling. To Africa. It's not that I actually want to go now, but when I stop running for any length of time, the dream surfaces.

I went to Africa when I was nine, at the height of apartheid. Near Windhoek my father was kidnapped during his exhibition throughout which he proclaimed the slogan 'Reserved For Everybody'. Meanwhile I, watching women wash their bright clothes in the river, springbok racing and kalimbas being thumbed, was absorbing faces, colours, smells and sounds that would rise to the top of the pile of memory - over and above Nepal, India, Bali and Morocco - throughout my life.

Growing up surrounded by my Dad's collection of Dan, Yoruba and Dogon art I felt particularly drawn to Mali, and one of my most extraordiary possessions is a Dogon sculpture of horse and rider - Animal rising up out of the earth and Man rising up out of Animal. Grounded, reaching towards the heavens, and very very sexy!

Mali has soaked through my skin and flavoured my blood and one day I will have to dance it out. I have had occasional go's (In a state of near trance at a Youssou N' Dour concert I was told I dance like a black woman; I prefer to teach Bach cello suites to a circle of cellists initially on the djembe; the first thing I do when I come home from tour is shake out the fatigue of inertia to Salif Keita etc) but these activities only scratch and thus inflame the itch.

From June till December this year my itinerary (because I am doing the summer period with the Musicens du Louvre) is already solid touring: Mulhouse, Strasbourg, Salzburg, Bremen, London, Lewes, Oxford, Stoke, Milton Keynes, Woking, Plymouth, Edinburgh, Norwich.....I can't exactly arrive home for christmas dinner and say "OK darling, thank you for the foie gras. Now I'm bogging off to Mali."

I say 'I' because, unlike the orchestral gigs that precede it, I am beginning to think it is a journey I have to do solo. I have always put it off - happily agreeing to eastern adventures with my more orientally inclined girlfriends - so I could do The Big One with my handsome prince when I found him. However, the possibility did not occur to me that my handsome prince may not want to spend weeks eating sweet potato and groundnut stew, throwing his hips around and banging djembes, or indeed that he might have a life of his own to lead and a lot of small paintings to sell.

So for the moment my trip will stay a dream if Julian and I are ever to see each-other. We will surely escape a Provencal summer some day, rent out our presque mas to cat lovers, go camping a deux in Ireland or Brittany and catch some good folk music; we will hopefully find the resources to visit my brother in Thailand, his brother in Singapore, my mother in Italy, my best friend near Jerez, his brother in Alfaz and his sister in Wales. Even more urgent is our need to spend quiet time at home here in paradise.

Nothing wrong with having a dream, even an unfulfilled one. Most of mine have come true so far as, alongside djembes and dogon masks, I was also dreaming baguettes, bicycles, sunflowers and not regrettin' rien. However, a word to all you single gals out there, don't put The Dream Journey off till you get The Dream Man!


Blogger Kimberly said...

That little statue certainly is very sexy! After reading this, I would go to Mali with you in a heartbeat. If only wishing and dreaming could always make it so...

10:45 PM  
Blogger Morphess said...

Oh God, your father is really talented too. Might as well just kill myself now. Seriously I love his work. Another fascinating post.

Ha. I too dance to African drums for relaxation, although no person with darker skin colour has ever been heard to remark that I look like I know what I'm doing. More like: Man, look at stupid whitey over there....

12:13 AM  
Anonymous franchini said...

Your travel dreams sound wonderful, and you have such a beautiful place to go back to as well. I have a desire to go to Africa. We have quite a lot of African music at home and I loved the Africa Remix exhibition a couple of weeks ago at the Hayward - this and a few African novels is the limits of my knowledge. One day, when the children are older I will get there and to a number of other places I'd love to see.

3:36 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

looks like i'll have company then in the drumming circle1

3:57 PM  

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