|Musique du Niger|
Fri 19 Mar
Having put the clocks forward an hour, I find the later sunrise, even here at 13 degrees north, most agreeable.
I lie in bed, determined to have a lie-in, struggling to find the BBC, I settle for the Voix Du Sahel. Evidently there is soon to be a music competition and they play some of the Nigerien entries. They are mostly with western guitar in the style of the blues or early Led Zeppelin. It sounds fantastic to my western ear; I decide I would love to take some home.
I pop out for breakfast at the nearest patisserie. After I've eaten I go to pay and ask (in my best French) if there is a shop nearby where I can hear the music of Niger. The lad standing next to the till is enthusiastic: there is, nearby, not far. I ask him to show me on the map but he insists on taking me there personally. We set off down a back street, me without sun hat or cream, along an alley, cross two major roads, past the Grande Marché. "It’s the turning after the pharmacie" he reassures me as it seems we're getting further from the shops and more into a residential area. What kind of music do I like? Oh yes, he too likes music of Niger very much, traditional, moderne, avec guitare, blues, yes very much.
Even after we arrive at his home
and I have shaken hands with his father I don’t feel we're too much off course.
He says he likes all the sorts of music I have mentioned and he will play some
CDs to see which I prefer. His father agreeably switches off the radio and leaves
the living room. The lad comes back from his bedroom with an enormous ghetto
blaster and a huge pile of CDs. There may be some value in this yet, although
of course, I can dismiss Oumou Sangare because she’s from Mali and Youssou N'Dour
because he’s from Senegal, and that leaves... er well Céline Dion, Phil Collins,
Nana Mouskouri and the Côte D’Ivoire’s version of "Now That’s What I Call
Zouk, Volume 3". Without exception every single CD and tape is from outside
Niger. I patiently thank him for taking the trouble and explain it isn't what
we talked about as we walked over and that he’s been jolly kind but absolutely
no help, at all, whatsoever, thank you. With a grins he replies, "We can
go and see if there are any music stalls in the market?"
"Peut-être plus tard" I reply; much later.
|Musique du Niger|