Crossing unslept through the Kenyan border, shows in places of unforgettable beauty and time spent on a ship built by hand over 3 years in the old ancient tradition before it heads out forever across the Indian Ocean…..
A very quick update after an intense week of traveling and shows. The last gig in Dar Es Salaam was a lovely celebration at Vipagi Gallery, and saying goodbye to some friendships made, especially with Mzungu Kichaa, Bryan from Jazz Euphoria. Staying in Q Bar was an colorful adventure, relaxed by day and like something from a movie from the 1950´s during the evening. I´d like to say thank you to David for the generous hospitality and for giving me bed and board during my stay.
As is the way with goodbyes to new friendships, we failed to go to bed and at 5am loaded the Bajaj motorcycle roof high with my guitar, luggage and camera bag and headed to the bus station. All buzzing and full of hustling and bustling and deals and memorable characters trying to convince you to give them your luggage and refusing and the “porter” feeling persecuted that you won´t trust him but keeping hold of everything and feeling vindicated just to find the right bus, all in tact – it was a bleary eyed blur of movement and unslept shuffling feet.
The road was long and bumpy as expected and the landscape passed from the deep rich flush of Tanzania to the drier hues and bush tones of Kenya. One memory evanesced as the next adventure unfolded before me and we reached the border with all the money exchangers surrounding us and then freaked out by my eccentric friend Mark, delirious and humourful and without sleep, celebrating joyously that all this money being thrust into our face, was in fact free money, and Kenya a land of fantasy. The exchangers hadn´t come across Mark´s type before and retreated in bewilderment, grasping their money confused at how this crazy eyed man had turned the tables.
Arriving at Forty Thieves in Diani Beach, its white sand purring and still and the beach empty from how hard the tourist routes have been hit from the activity of the radical groups further north. Playing 20 songs, then the maverick owner George arriving late and insisting on 20 more.
Hitting the bed tired after travels then heading further north to Tamarind Mombasa for the show with the most electric and sweeping of panoramas over the bay below.
Playing to a sold out, sold out dammit, show to the seated ladies and gentlemen of Mombasa, friendly and supportive, and then being joined by the house band to busk through some songs we´d never played together, and then to have some tables dance and yelp and engage and watch in mesmeriment as the lady from the house band truly opened up her lungs.
Onwards to Kilifi for a spontaneously booked show at Distant Relatives, deep in the forest and a staggering piece of architectural genius, showers coming out of trees, mangrove trees in the forest set alight by glowing balls and shining gently under the starry canopy of night. Playing the show to the most unexpected of small but beautiful audiences, unplugging and continuing the show acoustic and as song is meant to be sung.
Then finally yesterday spending the day with Pierre and Louis who have spent the last year with their local brothers building a ship of wood and rope, and in the ancient East Coast boat building tradition and the memory of old ways and knowledge imprinted in every part, eating our rice and curried vegetables by hand on the vast incomplete deck and hearing tales of how they plan to evade the pirates and sale it to India on completion.
Now on to seek out the Gede Ruins and to creep further north up the Kenyan Coast. In the deep of the Journeys #2 now…..
Hey Jamie, how long will you still stay in Africa?