Sunday, July 03, 2005

Richard in Africa

Richard Curtis, my ex-roomate, a Chicago performer and one of the performers I've interviewed on the dialogues page, is in Africa studying the songs and vocal techniques of the Maasai tribe.

Here is a recent email from him...


Subject:
Postcard 2: Haikus for Kenya

All the best from here. Been recording folk songs, fertility dance, warrior (Moran) dances, and a ritual cursing of thieves. More to come. Been learning strange new vocal utterances and some of the Ma language. Thank you for all your comments and encouraging words. Keep in touch.
Best, R.

Haikus for Kenya, 2:

a startled goat
feeding on thorns
kicks and runs away

sweet blood of the
cactus fruit drips
from my fingers and chin

trading vocal sounds
with the young shepherd
we understand each other

in a field behind the school
the dancing sea of
shukas* feathers and spears

* the red cloths traditionally worn by Maasai

country songs plucked
from a homemade guitar
for a woman who is not there

chewing on sticks of mira*
wind through the grasses
is a child's laughter

*mira is a mild natural narcotic (stimulant) that
is legally sold in Kenya

a snake visiting the
town meeting is
beaten with a stick

candle light
catching a
cat's tail

the star-counter peers
into the ocean's of dust
to witness his own birth

a body
rejecting
its circumstance

cleaning house
with the windows open
kitchen filling with flies

witnessing 7 firestick elders
cursing village thieves
we turn and scatter

recording the sound
of leaves being
eaten by a camel

* * *
There you have it. Hope you enjoyed them. And remember...

I ain't Basho
but then
you ain't either

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