As I have promised in my last post, I am uploading today the introduction of my Baskeet song DVD and an example clip.
Some additional information on what you can see in the introduction: After the map, the order of pictures is as follows: 1. wood and maize stalk market in Laska, 2. Baskeet bamboo trumpet trio (Shawayye Tebejje, Worada Geebiro, Biits’o Its’into), 3. dance scene in Saattsa (Adino Dazhani and K’oyaaso Maammo), 4. Wondu Sooddo playing a small bamboo flute, and 5. Babbana Tokkiso playing a moyza-horn.
The music in the background to the introduction is a very popular wedding song (Sibaake Siwaane); the song is performed by Tal’ane Abusho and Mahane Dohanbaabo, who are also shown on the cover of the DVD.
The example clip presented below is also taken from the DVD (I reduced the file size and the resolution quality of the video):
This lyre song is performed by Messele Lipaato (lyre) and Allayo Lanc’o, two cousins from the Awra Soosta-K’äbäle of the Basketo Special Wäräda. Messele Lipaato is one of the most talented and versatile lyre and flute players that I have met in Baskeet.
The popular dance song on the video clip is called Shulshula, which translates as ‘bamboo flute’, probably because it is an adaptation of a flute song to the lyre. Note that Allayo Lanc’o also happens to hold a shulshula-flute in his hand.
Unfortunately, the videos are not yet subtitled and only accessible to Baskeet speakers, who are thus the primary addressees of this DVD. In their Shulshula-song, Messele and Allayo speak about the geographical environment they live in and they present themselves in relation to their close and extended relatives and friends. In a paragraph towards the end of the song, Messele also bemoans the fact that in these times of rapid Prostestantisation* musicians like him are just written off as “crazy” and “drunkards”.
Two characteristic features of Baskeet performances can also be detected in this non-typical staged performance: The exclamation Saadda! ‘To the ground!’ is repeatedly used to encourage the (imagined) listeners to dance. The baboon-like cry, which is heard at 5min32 and 6min50, is a typical cry of encouragement at any Baskeet group event (dances, funeral procession, cooperative work).
Finally, a word on the unusual stripy background in front of which the video was produced: I found it very difficult to find an easily accessible, quiet and not too echoey place for my recordings. Most of the videos were made in the Office of Culture, Information and Tourism in Lower Laska, because it is a guarded compound and is located far from mills with chugging diesel engines, eateries with blaring music and churches broadcasting sermons via loudspeakers. However, in the early mornings and during power outages (which silenced the constant stream of Pentecostalist pop music from the eatery next door), I could also make some videos in the little room where I lived and worked. This had the advantage of not having to carry my equipment around, not having to instruct the musicians where to meet me, being able to keep myself busy while waiting for an appointment and, most importantly, obtaining better sound because the mud walls of my room produced no echoes.
However, the room was tiny and I had to squeeze the musicians into one corner and myself into another:
And as you can clearly see, the little room had another major drawback. When I moved into it, I had the walls covered with sackcloth (rather than Emirati or Chinese newspapers) and the only sackcloth design available in town was the stripy one that you can see on the video above (and, unfortunately, on many other videos as well).
Anyway, these are my first (admittedly very amateurish!) video-recordings. They leave much room for future improvements. They may not (yet) be very appealing to people outside Baskeet (the subtitling is planned for the end of the year) but I am quite sure that they will be appreciated by the community.
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