Archive - May 2014

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Music and Lyrics
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While I was planning
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Celebration of Life

Music and Lyrics

Rastamouse and Scratchy and Zuma Also known as da easy crew Crime fighters and very special agents Playing reggae when the work is through   Rastamouse is one of the children’s frequently watched cartoons; the soundtrack is one of my favourites. Yeah, I know. I can’t believe it too. But it wasn’t always like this. I had my suspicions when I first clapped eyes on it. The name told me it was Jamaican-themed and I should expect all the characteristics of the reggae- playing, patois – speaking, dreadlock – wearing island country. Fair enough but I wasn’t prepared to read this sentence in the synopsis of an episode: Someone has teefed all the cheese in the mouseland… What were they trying to teach children? To further my chagrin was the mice characters sounding off words or phrases I wasn’t sure I wanted T and her brother to repeat. Laters. Likkle ones. Man, that is dread. Whatta gwan? Irie man. Me love that. Maybe after they have displayed a firm grasp of the English, Yoruba, Urhobo, Spanish and French Languages. Blame it on my training and proper English Language trait. Then there was Bagga T, a character, who looked and sounded like a bouncer (but has deft rhymes especially when saying his name). On the flip side, I found a few things fascinating: da easy crew using a skateboard and roller skates to aid movement as well as playing musical instruments; an orphanage thrown into the plot; and a mice president who almost doubles up as a handyman. Then I discovered, beneath all the peculiarities of the Jamaican culture, there was always a story to tell, entertainment and a moral to teach (or how to make a bad thing good, like Rastamouse would always say). I learnt the entire lyrics of the soundtrack in one episode. Found out when it was going tobe on, made out time to be available and blacked out every distraction while I listened attentively to the soundtrack. After that, I basically listened to it to make sure I got the words right and it has been happy singing ever”more

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While I was planning

For one day only, T becomes a Hausa girl, looking adorable in the traditional attire, accessories and a calabash in her arms. She’s wearing a pair of ballerina pumps to complete the look; I didn’t get her Hausa slippers. Her brother’s roots remain unchanged though; just slightly modified. He moves from a Yoruba boy to a rather dignified – looking Yoruba hunter with his purple dashiki and fila tilted at an angle. Today is world cultural day and the children’s school are not only celebrating it verbally but also visually. The children have been put into groups of different tribes and told to dress accordingly. For five years on this particular day, T has worn outfits sewn from Ankara fabrics. I just couldn’t be bothered into dressing her up like a typical Yoruba girl. I felt this was yet another minor annoyance from the school (as though I needed one!) that involved money, time, thought and resources; all of which I wasn’t quite willing to part with without a compelling reason. Especially when the chances of repeating the outfit for a different occasion is nil. It is the same feeling I had towards other days the school pulled out of its hat – career day, colour splash day, open day, parents’ teaching/reading day, science day, prize–giving day…Enough already! How about a give-me-a-break day? Why dress up in a particular traditional outfit to learn about another culture or more of yours? Whatever happened to teaching it with a blackboard and a white chalk/marker? That’s how I learnt about it. Show the pupils photos, if you wanted to go further and perhaps make it more fun. That was my thinking. Why make me (and other parents) go through the hassle of acquiring different attires and playing dress up with our children when we can just adorn them with simple and stylish Ankara – made outfits and send them on their merry way? Apparently, teaching methods as well as the learning process change with the times. It also changed my way of thinking last year when I saw a fellow female pupil of”more

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Celebration of Life

Someone died in my neighbourhood recently. The colourful posters announcing his passage showed a man ten years away from being called a centenarian. They also showed that he had been someone’s father, uncle, brother, grandfather and great grandfather; he had been something to everyone who had known him. And as become the norm, the posters had the headliner ‘Celebration of Life’. That phrase that began to appear in the ‘90s on death notices, replacing the more depressing word ‘obituary’. And perhaps attempting to replace our grief- stricken hearts and sense of loss with new thinking, new paradigms about death. Being thankful that the deceased’s passed this way instead of mourning a life that is no more.  I totally get this. I don’t completely agree with it. Back to my neighbourhood. I was running errands on the day the commendation service was slated to take place. I would have gone by the poster – ridden house without a passing glance but for the sound and scene in front of it that stopped me short. Instrumentalists – a trumpeter and a drummer – gave music that was upbeat, alluring and akin to that of a football supporters’ club’s sound during a match; pall bearers carrying a brown – hued coffin walked towards a waiting minivan; and a woman and a man, gaily dressed in matching olive – green attires, (most likely relatives of the deceased) brought up the rear. Besides the coffin, the pair were the cynosure of the small crowd of people who had gathered. As they followed the coffin behind, they danced and danced to the music. The woman shook all her curves and matching jewelry, every shiny bit of her accessories and attire reflecting the sun’s rays. She bent her knees and got down almost to road beneath her, while still shaking what her momma gave her. The man accompanied her with expansive hand and flanking movements. They were both smiling widely, almost laughing even, as they did so. Some would think the pair were dancing this much because they were actually GLAD the deceased was gone; I choose”more

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