The Concoction

An Ethiopian woman's musings on Africa, the world and everything in between

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        Friday, July 06, 2007
        Portugese-West African music

        Sara Tavares is single handedly changing the scope of this blog. Only once, when I was a baby-blogger, I talked about music. Now I'll start posting on music I like. I'm getting tired of my own whining about how corrupt, arrogant and stupid everybody is anyway.

        NPR covered her story in this morning's Morning Edition. Sara Tavares is the 2007 winner of the World Music Awards.
        Sara was born in Lisbon, although sadly her parents abandoned her there to pursue their dreams elsewhere, leaving her in the care of a Portuguese woman. Maybe that's why one of the strongest messages in her work is the importance of self esteem, both personally and on behalf of her own community of Africans born outside 'the Motherland'. Whatever it is, her sweet and swinging music radiates a positivity that effortlessly jumps the language barrier.

        As my husband put it, "she is a female version of Ismael Lo", who is the "Bob Dylan of Africa". Personally, there is no comparison between the two because Mr. Dylan doesn't just cut it for me - vocally. She's more like a more convincing and authentic version of Sade.

        NPR always has good recommendation of songs. Through them, I came to know Ray Lamontagne, Marc Broussard, Ben Harper, The Blind Boys of Alabama and others.

        In the NPR interview, Sara talks about some fascinating issues like dealing with her personal issues via her songs, her journey in search of her roots, how she mixes the two cultures (Portugese and W. African) and other deeply philosophical stuff. One thing that made me think is her story about the resilience of oppressed cultures. She was talking about slaves not being allowed to drum, so they kept their tradition alive by keeping rhythm to their music by slapping their laps.

        This really made me think about dictatorship. However brutal certain regimes get, there are certain things that they just can't get rid of. They can kill people for speaking up, but they can't kill opinions. They can kill women for loving the "wrong" person, but they can't kill love. They can ban people from travelling, but they will go even if it kills them. They can ban whatever, but people will find a way to get those things. I wonder what the world would be if enlightened artists are rulers??? Sorry, getting carried away with being philosophical.

        Sara incorporates all that in her music (not the artists becoming rulers bit - that's just my fantacy). And, you should hear her beat-boxing, African style.

        p.s. Please check the Groove section on the left. How cool is that? Now, as my punishment of child neglect, I have to watch Herbie (a talking VW - great!)

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