Saturday, August 27, 2011

At the end of the day

The sun sets on a haggard city
Dusty, sweaty, angry, filthy
Running on empty
Frustrated and needy
Trudging home
Alone but not alone
Faces are vacant and hard
Like stone
Protecting soft places
We guard what we own
Guard what is real
What is raw
What's inside
And then carefully
Unwrap and release it at night
And beg it to salvage
Some lost piece of mind
Or bring back our runaway hope
Hope that is fragile and feels suicidal
Let's medicate it with prayer
And persuade it to live
Not to fade but to stay
Redemption may just be
One sunrise away

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ah Dela...Surely I have found a friend to my soul? I recently discovered Dela, a twenty-something year old, French genius of a music producer living in Canada. Below are the lyrics to the Changes of Atmosphere (Intro). They were written by Liza Garza, a highly gifted spoken word poet, vocalist, lyricist and activist whom I am absolutely thrilled to have discovered, and whom we will definitely be seeing more of on this blog.

Changes of Atmosphere (Intro) - Lyrics by Liza Garza

In the name of the Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Let her ask in faith nothing doubting 
For she that doubts is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed
Everything in this world cursed and lost in our forgetfulness
Why do we choose to ignore the obvious in wishful places far too distant
If we could awaken we would truly listen to melodies, they are so divine
Witness life blooming colors not apparent to our earthly eyes all the joys connected to our earthly lives are but a glimpse to what awaits
So this time I say I’m finally given rewind re-love for the sake fully living and desperate hope of fully dying in a pure state 
My only desire but to forgive and stay
My only hope that you would do the same
Our only mercy that the Most Gracious would remember our name and with this change we begin this gracious dance, this wholesome trance
Foundation so solid nothing shakes or bothers what’s rooted so deeply
We witness these mercies rescue us
We remember the Best of guides is guiding us
And with the firmness of this very step
And with our certainty of death we know that this is the most intimate caress
A kiss from the inside out
So close to truth we are now strangers to doubt
And now whether wrote in triumph or defeat
We throw our hands up in victory
This grace nearer to me than the arteries in my neck
Than my heart beating 
In my chest we are filled with the most gracious very breath
And finally you will kiss the truth just by kissing you
You will witness your love, loving you
And I will kiss the truth just by kissing me
I will witness my love loving me
We will kiss the truth just by kissing us
We will witness our love loving us in awe as loves descent from beneath us
Souls satisfaction, seven heavens await in atmospheres change in change of atmosphere

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Gratefully discovering DELA

I love discovering new music! Dela is my latest find and I love his instrumental hip-hop. His sophomore album, Translation Lost, is pretty much about love dissipating, ups and downs, the confusion, passion, rage and grief that comes with the realization of an irreparable disconnection and discordance between the two parties in a relationship. I feel this! The track I'll probably be playing over and over in the car is Lucy's and Loose Leafs:-)

His first album is Changes of Atmosphere released in 2009. Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant! I particularly love The City, Veuillez Veiller Sur Vos Rêves featuring Les Nubians and John Banzaï, Long Life featuring Talib Kweli and Stress... because I am currently rather stressed:-)

So, between the two which do I prefer? I love them both! But I'm buying Changes Of Atmosphere:-)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Parenting 101 (part 1): J

J is a little boy born to Zimbabwean parents in New Zealand. He has escaped the curse of the green passport. He is a citizen of a country that works and provides its people with an enabling environment for their well-being and all-round development. His parents having worked hard to escape the grip of the failed state that is their land of birth, will do anything to ensure that their child leads a fulfilling life. Unlike babies in Zimbabwe who do not have access to decent healthcare, J's health practitioner comes to see him in the comfort of his home weekly. High quality healthcare comes to him, for free. At only three months old he has been exposed to a wealth of musical influences from around the world, signed up for swimming lessons, a reading program for babies - the ECD jury is still out on whether this is a good idea or not- and hopes are high that he will one day cause the hairs on the backs of our necks to stand as he does the haka with the All Blacks.The boy is poised for success. Things are very much looking up for J. The external conditions all seem to be in place - adoring and devoted parents and at least one aunt (yours truly) in his whose heart he has permanently embedded himself. But a human being is a highly complex organism. What will it really take to mould the infant into a happy, healthy boy and eventually a grounded, stand-up man who can hold his own in the world? In part 2 I will explore this idea and introduce you to W a little girl about to be born to Zimbabwean parents in Cape Town.

ORTIA Observations

I recently recalled an occasion at the beginning of the year when I spent many, many hours stuck at the airport. It was very interesting observing how flight crews from different airlines conduct themselves when they arrive at the departure terminal.
Air France made the poorest showing of them all, shirts un-tucked, hair somewhat disarrayed, ties not quite knotted neatly and frantic last minute smoking of cigarettes.
Qatar Airways were prim and proper, unsmiling and walked in synchronous strides in single file. These were certainly not the kind of people you want to ask for extra peanuts during your flight. 
Ethiopian Airlines raised a few eyebrows - two eyebrows, to be precise, specifically mine. The ladies were drop dead gorgeous Nubian princess-types, confident, and full of vitality, throwing their heads back in laughter and youthful joie de vivre. They were great. Their male colleagues were cause for concern, however. They were tripping over themselves attempting to be chivalrous and offload the ladies' luggage from the shuttle. I would guess every one of them was at least ten years older than the ladies. They were sluggish and clumsy and their green suits were ill fitting. All of them. I was baffled and a little disappointed. My bafflement gave way to concern when I observed their body language. I won't go into too much detail but suffice it to say it was my observation and conclusion that the men were keenly aware of the beauty of their female counterparts. This was evidenced by what I will take the liberty to describe as lust-filled laughter, shifty, leery, wandering eyes, lascivious winking and inappropriate and unnecessary physical contact. I wondered where this crew was flying to and how many hours of this those poor girls would have to put up with. Then it occurred to me that there was no way they could be oblivious to the lusty, leery lasciviousness that I had noted in the few minutes I had been watching them. So what did this mean? If I was being eyeballed by shifty eyes and accidentally bumped into inappropriately I would not be throwing my head back in joie de vivre; I would be nauseated and enraged. And yet the Nubian princesses were just downright chipper. Hookay then! Buried my head in the book I had been pretending to read and let that scenario work itself out... 
Next up was Lufthansa. Ah Lufthansa! This crew was nothing short of awe-inspiring. They offloaded their luggage with record speed and efficiency, their uniforms were fresh and crisp and they did not walk; they glided into the terminal in a perfect v shape like birds in migration. I was left feeling like I could do better with my life. Really. I could do better.
Last but I suppose not least was a rag tag, unruly group that put me ill at ease. There was something about this crew... What was it? Was it the over made up faces, the slicked up hair topped off with shiny hair pieces, the fact that they appeared to be conversing extremely loudly such that I was unsure whether they were arguing or just really passionate about whatever the subject matter was? As they quick-stepped into the bustling terminal I tried to hear what they were saying as they passed me but alas my hearing is not that great. All I picked up was something, something, shar... Shar? What was that? Hmmm. Shar. Or maybe chat, as in the french word for cat? Then it hit me. Oh. Not shar, not chat, but shaSha, short for shamwari, the Shona word for friend. Turns out this rag tag team flew me to my hometown in a rag tag airplane that took twice the time it takes other airlines to fly the same route. But just in time for my friend's wedding!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Time After Time after time after time

In 1984, during the course of my first year on the planet one Cyndi Lauper released Time After Time, a lyrically heartwarming, highly sentimental and spell-binding gift of a song that would turn out to be a timeless classic covered by scores of amateur and professional musicians and loved by millions around the globe. So besides Cyndi's clean, simple and great to sing along to version, here are a couple of covers I quite like.

Matchbox 20's 2005 version has won me over completely. By Jove! I believe it just might trump the original! Thanks to Rob Thomas' subliminal voice and magic fingers I have added this timeless track to my list of songs I would like to learn how to play on the guitar.

Then there is a version by INOJ durng the 90s. It's a little bit on the weaker side but I like the beat - the 808's on time:-) and the bass comes through a little bit more strongly than on the original. As a sentimental person I also find the video quite sweet.

And coming full circle back to the 80s is the version by Miles Davis. I love this song. I love jazz. I love Miles. I couldn't ask for more.

I should think it's quite validating for Cyndi Lauper (who still performs to this day) and Rob Hyman (who co-wrote the song) for so many people to cover Time After Time. It means their creative output has lasting resonance with humanity, which we all know to be quite fickle, therefore this should make her proud. I know I would be!