Tag Archives: music

All packed into one little Saturday.

This past weekend was something special. I finally left my little shoe box, my litter strewn classroom, the tiny corners of my life and ventured out; right out into the country for a luncheon. Such an old fashioned yet relevant world. It was too grand for a simple lunch and yet informal enough to be relaxed and welcoming. It was too generous and beautifully laid out to be a simple Saturday lunch, no this was a luncheon replete with tables laid beneath massive trees in view of satisfied ponies resting after the attentions of so many children. Our hosts brought together many characters from different circles. The newly arrived expats, the old timers, the teachers, the people who know not to whom or what they belong. Above all it was the children who brought together this group of adults, and it was the parents of these children, friends of the mini hosts who sat and watched the youngsters living the idyllic life of an African afternoon.

Yes. A lunch party between two trees as old as the ancients, on a farm where roses bloom and horses scamper about the paddock. Between courses the little ones zipped around dangerously on quad bikes while the relaxed parents turned an amused blind eye towards those parents who bit their lips in quiet terror. Mud splattered boots were replaced with flip flops and the smiles of sun kissed teens shone in the afternoon sun. Little girls, with cheeks as chubby as their 3 years would allow were scolded for riding quad bikes alone and the tantrum that followed her removal of the dangerous and offensive bike was laughed as wholly reasonable by us all. Some parents snuck in a cigarette while their daughters jumped over fences with ponies who looked a mite weary. Finally a few dads decided that it was their turn to ride the quads, but try as they might, the kids were having none of it. A reluctant 2 minute ride was allowed before they were back on, their rightful place ensured.

Too soon, as the light began to change, and shadows moved between the trees it was time to go. One little boy clutching his sprite bottle, so clearly did not want to leave this paradise, he had to be promised another visit “very soon’ to console him. Women were handed roses as they climbed into cars for the ride back to Kampala. Who could believe that this perfect corner was a mere 40 minutes away?

Finally, when everyone departed and children were told that one more turn on the quad bike would not happen for the 15th time, the light began to sink. Trooper and Princess were invited to stay the night and without a moment’s hesitation, and with eyes glowing, they nodded “yes, please.” The assurance that they would ride again the next morning was just the cherry on their cake. This was life, this was what it was all about! Quad biking! Horses! Friends! Land to run and laugh and be muddy and free!

Handsome husband and I said our farewells and left our children behind, with a twinge of jealously. We were heading out to listen to some Congolese music. From one world to another.

The women were resplendent in costume. Their head scarfs barely moved as they swayed in time to the beat. Hands up, hips out and the dancing shook the ground. Sadly this same ground was littered with plates containing the half eaten dinners of a hundred dancers. For some reason it was not deemed necessary to provide bins. No, not in this culture where there would certainly be someone with the broom at the ready next morning. Yet in the meantime, what was once a garden of green grass was now a rubbish dump of squished french fries and twice gnawed chicken bones. Plastic knives snapped under foot while I walked around, avoiding the booming speakers and searching for my friends. Perhaps the tranquility of the rose farm had ruined, for me this evening spectacle of feet stomping, hip swaying revelers. I thought of Princess and Trooper, tucked into bed, sleepy with their overdose of fresh air, dreaming of another day of horses and fun and I was jealous. All they want is to be grown up and they are so much better being young.

Still, it was good music, for a time, and there was true French pride on this day celebrating the African french speakers. It’s just that the ancient trees were calling and I couldn’t get their song out of my mind.

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Just dance.

Sometimes all you need to do is close your eyes and dance.

Dance to a different rhythm, one that pushes and turns your body into a myriad of directions; directionless places where the world disappears and time does not exist.

Dance is the only language whose tongue tells a tale of forgetfulness. Telling us to only remember the body and forget the mind.

Turn the lights low, music high and forget yourself in dance.

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Filed under I have no idea where to put this, Photography

Dance Adonis, Dance.

3limes is feeling like it time to shake those blue cobwebs off the shoulders and look around with new and fresh eyes. Yes, a dark cloud has been wafting about these past few weeks but there is nothing like a night out to see some fabulous dance to remind us how lucky we are to live in a country where it is not easy to be an artist and those that create are both brave and in need of some celebration.

Last night a small group of us headed to the National Theatre to see a performance of Keiga Dance Company with music by Joel Sebunjo.

There were 7 dancers, three musicians and one technician.  We were told during the introduction that we were about to see a showcase of modern contemporary Ugandan dance that unlike most dance, would specifically stay away from telling a story. However, what I liked most about the dance was that, in snippets, a story was being told and using gestures that we all use daily, only this time they were presented in an exaggerated and poetic manner with the body instead of words or expressions. At one point each dancer looked a member of the audience straight in the eyes and pointed between his eyes and ours as if to say, I am the one watching you, not the other way around.

The musicians played both with their voices and traditional instruments but the symbiosis between the live musicians and the dancers was like a taunt cord seamlessly strung between the two.

It cannot be easy to be a dancer here. There are no opportunities to go to dance school, nor is dancing considered a worthwhile profession is a country where it is imperative to work to feed perhaps your entire family, in addition to yourself. I sat spellbound throughout the performance and thought to myself how powerful the pull to create really is, no matter the place or circumstance of one’s birth. What ever changes in this crazy world of ours, art and creation will live on, no matter the pull or bias from society or family. The will to dance was there for these 7 dancers and I applaud them for their skill, passion, creativity and perseverance. This dance troop could happily find themselves on a stage anywhere in the West holding their own against other homegrown dancers.

I love to watch dance, often, more so than theatre ( which considering my education and training to be a drama teacher might seem strange. ) Dance has to power to express without words and that challenge, when it works is enough to move any heart.

It must be said that, as an added bonus, I appreciated some eye candy for the first time since arriving here in Uganda. Initially, in the first of 7 pieces I sat and regretted the baggy t-shirt attire of choice. Then when the dancers appeared bearing rippled chests I could sit back and appreciate what the human form can really do. A black dancer is the closest one can get to a living Adonis.

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Filed under Uganda

By the light of the moon

My wish for a day off did not come true. Eid was declared to be on Sunday rather than Monday and all the finger and toe crossing came to nothing in the face of the moon. There is something quite extraordinary about the fact that in this high tech/high speed world some things stay very simple. It is only by looking at the moon that the date of Eid can be ascertained. The city was in a festive mood and celebrations went on late into the night. Far too late in some circumstances.

The disco which lies directly outside our front gate normally has an enthusiastic evening on Friday and Saturday and usually ends by around 10pm. Last night, however they were still going strong at 2am and in between each number the DJ enjoyed grabbing the mike and yelling with glee and fervour at his patrons. It can only be described as torture. As I lay awake, pillow clenched over my head I repeated the mantra over and over again: “Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop.” Eventually I turned on the light and read. There was no fighting it. I did have some violent fantasies concerning the throwing of hand grenades but they only made the pain worse. I hate to be a party pooper but there is nothing more selfish than depriving another of sleep. Especially when she needs to confront various teens in a classroom the next day.

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Just a little toe tapping distraction.

You are there. Wherever “there” is and I am in Tobago. For two weeks with no internet connection. I am lying on a beach, perhaps by the pool; I am reading and talking and “liming” and enjoying the company of my sister, my brother-in-law and their three delicious children. I am watching 5 children who live a million miles from each other, laugh and splash and love like only cousins do.

Did you read the part about NO internet?

This is going to be very interesting.

I will be back.

In the meantime look at this. It will get your toes tapping and amaze you.

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One more memory

This is a fantastic mash up of last year’s best pop tunes. Enjoy.

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Filed under I have no idea where to put this