[The one and only Henry Rollins contributes a column and far-reaching reportage to the music section of the LA Weekly. Look for your weekly Henry Rollins fix right here on West Coast Sound every Friday and make sure to tune in to Henry's KCRW radio show every Saturday evening, or online, or as a podcast, or however else you decided to listen to the most eclectic DJ on L.A.'s airwaves.
This column comes to us direct from Africa–where Henry is with Drop In The Bucket–via Internet at a UN outpost, and Henry catches us up on the Sudanese Referendum and how people get the democracy they deserve. Plus the awesomely annotated playlist for his all-Africa KCRW BROADCAST #91 for tomorrow, Saturday 11-27-10. (It looks amazing!) For more details please visit KCRW.com and HenryRollins.com.]
I have been in Africa for about eight days now. As someone once said, one day in Africa is like five days anywhere else. I would agree. By the time the sun is setting and you are able to enjoy the colors and the slightly cooler air, there is a feeling that you have been through something epic. The stillness and beauty of the moment is fleeting because the setting sun means that it's time for the mosquitoes to come out of nowhere and form small black clouds in front of you. Soon they will pick their main course. That would be you.
And then, the night begins. The insect world roars to life, the lizards come out and run across the walls, the dogs start to bark–it's a lively scene. Not always the best sleeping environment but after awhile, you get used to it somewhat.
Presently, I am in Kajo Keji, Sudan, a little north of the Sudanese/Ugandan border. We have been here for a few days. Our crossing into South Sudan was hassle free, even though we were late getting to the border, which actually closes at night.
This region of Sudan still shows evidence of the wars that have raged in this country for over two decades. People are incredibly friendly but have a very challenging existence. No one seems to be doing all that well–just getting by is more like it. Here, most things are done manually. Water is drawn from wells or streams and carried back to the dwelling. Sometimes the distances are very long. I was at a market here yesterday and asked local vendors, via a man named Caesar who translated to the local Cucu dialect, how long their journeys were to the market. Women told me of carrying their wares eight miles each way and that it was how they had always done it. A man told me that when
you have a family, you don't think of anything else and you do what you have to and that's the end of it. It is tough here for sure.
South Sudan is one of the most hard-put places in the world. It's why the NGO I am with, Drop In The Bucket (www.dropinthebucket.org) is here, to help drill for water and build sanitation systems for people in this region as well as in Uganda. For the last few days, I have been seeing their work up close and it's amazing. I have met so many school children, teachers, and officials in the last few days and they have been great.
As you know, South Sudan will be holding their Referendum vote in January of 2011. Registration is now. Two days ago, I met a group of Sudanese students who came over twelve hours on a bus from Kampala, Uganda–where they are going to school–to register. They were in their good clothes in the harsh African sun, sweating it out and happy to have registered. They were about to get back on the bus and go all the way back down to Kampala. They will come back up in January to vote. This what all the war and struggle was for. This is why so many people died. This vote will hopefully secure the freedom of South Sudan and they will be come autonomous. This is huge. I have been talking to a lot of people and everyone is excited and ready to get up the road to freedom.
Seeing how much it means to these people to be able to vote, I can't help but think of all the Americans who didn't vote in the recent elections. I guess they didn't want it enough. You get the Democracy you deserve every time.
It's beyond inspiring to be here at this time and to meet so many people ready for change in their country. I was talking to some people a few hours ago and they told me that one of the main priorities post-Referendum will be better education possibilities for women. I don't think I am going rogue on this one when I say that any society would benefit from intelligent and well-informed women in high numbers.
I will do my best to account to you next week. I am not at all sure what my internet access will be. I am fortunate at this moment to be staying at a UN facility here that has pretty good online access. I am not all that sure what I am up for in the days to come.
If you look below at the radio notes for this Saturday's get down, you will see that it's a bit of a concept happening. It's all Africa all night and it is easily one of the best things we have ever put together. I hope you get a chance to check it out.
Until next week or whenever.
DON'T MISS SATURDAY NIGHTS ON THA K, KCRW FM 89.9
6-8 PM – HENRY ROLLINS (FINC), ENGINEER X, WILL 'THE DOUBLE B' BENTLEY
8-10 PM – LADY LIZA RICHARDSON
10-MIDNIGHT – MARIO 'AT ONE WITH HIMSELF' COTTO
GO TO KCRW.COM FOMOINFO
Fanatics! Tonight's show: Dig it with a spoon or dig it with a shovel
but p-p-p-puh-leeze dig it!
Since I am in Africa at the moment, I thought we should stay on the continent for the entire evening. Engineer X and I have put together two hours of African jams that I think you are going to love. We have dug some of these gems before but many of them are first-timers to our show. I have played this show through a few times and have come to the conclusion that it's one of our best get-downs yet.
Next week, we have a great concept show happening but since I have not had a chance to finish it, and probably won't until the day before we go live, I will tell you about it later. I think it's going to be another one of those shows you are going to dig immensely.
I don't know enough about these bands and artists to wax fanatically, so I shall not attempt to waste your time. There is so much music on the African continent–as long as I keep checking out music from here, I will never even get so much as the proverbial toe wet.
Fanatics, you know we always do our level best to rock your world every Saturday night. I hope you dig this set and hang out for Liza and Mario too. Get down with it and STAY FANATIC!!! –Henry
E-Mail address for Henry: Henryontheradio@gmail.com
KCRW BROADCAST #91
01. King Sunny Ade – Synchro System / Synchro System
02. Various Artists – Chant Avec Cithare / Burundi: Musiques Traditionnelles
03. Hamza El Din – Did Nura Remember (Gillina Nura) / Al
Oud-Instrumental & Vocal
04. Flutes Of The Mandara Mountain – Leele / Flutes Of The Mandara Mountain
05. Tèshomè Meteku – Gara Ser Nèw Bétesh / Ethiopiques 1
06. Tinariwen – Taskiout / Matadjem Yinmixan (single)
07. Les Tambours De Brazza – Mama Ngoudi / Zangoula
08. Hallelujah Chicken Run Band – Mudzimu Ndiringe / Take One
09. Vieux Farka Touré – Fafa / Live
10. Zé Da Lua – Ulungu Wami / Angola Soundtrack – Special Sounds Luanda '65-'78
11. Staff Benda Bilili Très – Avramandole / Très Fort
12. The Action 13 – More Bread To The People / Nigeria Rock Special
13. Bola Johnson & His Easy Life Top Beats – Ezuku Buzo / Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump
14. Tirogo – Ajufo / Float
15. Toumast – Innulamane / Ishumar
16. Koudede – Akalourtle / Amghar-D'ana
17. Terakaft – Tahra A Issasnanane / Akh Issudar
18. Tamikrest – Outamachek / Adagh
19. Docteur Nico & Orchestre African Fiesta – Pauline / Golden Afrique Vol. 2
20. Mbuti Pygmies Of The Ituri Rainforest – Bachelor Duet With Lukembi
/ self titled
21. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou – Malin Kpon O / Vol. 2 – Echos Hypnotiques
22. Queen Of The Spirits – Pyramids / Music Of Idris Ackamoor
23. Orchestre De La Pailote – Kadia Blues / African Pearls Vol. 2