Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Still hot & heavy in November

The current score in the war for supremacy in my kitchen: Ants: 2,313,534 Me: 7

Addendum to favorite fruits: Tangerines - cheap, tasty, juicy, available, fresh, amazing, yummy, goodness

What's new: Stayed up 'til 5:30am last Tuesday to watch the election. My neighbor lived in Canada for 30 years and loves to follow politics, so I camped out at his place with 2 big cups of coffee and lots of adrenaline. By some small miracle we picked up CNN around midnight. I'll never forget that night...there's a lot of scariness ahead for our country but Tuesday was inspirational.

I returned to the Ewe music society, this time in a different location, for another funeral (did I mention that a funeral in Ghana can last up to 3 days, and after the body is buried it becomes a party celebrating the life of the deceased). Once again I played the song/dance "Kinka", playing rattle, supporting drums and the master drum for a good while. I think I can safely say that I tore it up: many people complimented my playing, including the resident "master drummer", and my teacher was very proud (he boozed in my honor). While I'm still by no means a master, I know "Kinka" well, and I'll be working to get other songs up to this level. I've become an official member of this society until I leave Ghana, and I'll be visiting them in 3 weeks for more of the same.

Finished teaching my orchestration class, and I will be playing keyboards for the university R&B group (our show includes "Killing me softly" and "No More" by Alicia Keys) at an unannounced concert date. Caught a cold twice in 2 weeks, but I've recovered and hope to stay healthy. Slowly making more friends and maybe more enemies. Seeing a few unbelievable thunderstorms and hoping my house doesn't flood (it didn't). Reading books. Learning RH Factor tunes on my keyboard.

What's on the Telly in Ghana: I get four channels on my 13" TV: GTV, TV3, TV Africa & Metro TV. All are homegrown Ghanaian stations. By far the most common programming is news, broadcast by all stations. Other common programs include African movies (from Nigeria & Ghana) and music videos (from Ghana & US). Soccer is fairly frequent, including English Premiere League, UEFA Champions League and Ghanaian soccer. There's also an assortment of very random shows on that I've catch now and again. This includes "Murder, She Wrote", "Touched by an Angel" (never watched these shows before in my life), a very strange Korean show about princes and princesses with subtitles (currently my favorite), a Spanish soap opera with English dubbing (which doubles the entertainment value), Voice of America (a US news report and propaganda tool), and US cartoons. I even watched 10 minutes of the latest "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie, the one in CGI. Wow. I'm sure there's lots more I haven't seen yet. And apparently it's also possible to get CNN and Al-Jazeera early in the morning, but I haven't been successful yet. I'm hoping to build a rogue antenna so I can pick up "American Idol" and football playoffs.


MaggieO said...

Joe, I've had so much fun reading your blogs. You truley have a gift of painting pictures with words. Whatever you write, I feel like I can see, hear, smell, taste (all that yummy fruit) and feel. I was especially fond of the story where you played drums at a gathering, were made to wear a colorful cloth, and pissed of an elder...pretty funny. We're all so proud of you for doing this and, even though it has been rough at times, it seems like this will be one of your greatest life experiences so keep positive and enjoy every moment.
I forwarded your link to one of my co-workers who is from Ghana. Oh my gosh have no idea how excited he was after reading it! He said everything is exactly as you describe it and that your writings made him feel like he was back home. Thanks for continuing to write...I'm sensing a non-fiction book in your future. :)

We love you, miss, you and can't wait to hear from you,

Maggie O.

herb and mary said...

I continue to smile each time I read your blog-although I'm sorry that you are at such a disadvantage in the battle of the ants!
You should be so incredibly proud-exploring all aspects of Ghana so independently. I was glad to read you're making new friends-not sure about the enemies?? Interesting that the perception of Americans equates to wealth. I somewhat empathize with you concerning requests for help/donations. I always struggle when in NYC-and people ask for money. At first I made small donations but now I smile at the individual and walk on-telling myself that I donate to charities of my choice.
Sounds as if you are enjoying drumming within traditional settings-and that you are well accepted by others. Quite an accomplishment.
Keep well and safe. We love you.
Mary (and all-Herb, Carolyn & Mark)

Barbara said...

The night of the election was very exciting and I'm so glad you were able to participate in it! When people talk about the 2008 election, you'll have something to add noting you mailed your ballot in from the Embassy! I hope to hear you play Kinka and all the other music you're learning in Africa, Joe. It's truly inspiring to me that you've gone so far, both literally and figuratively, to learn your music!

I totally enjoy your musings on the blog and look forward to them! Thanks for taking the time to post...and good luck with the ants!

Love and Hugs from your Colorado Clan...
B, P, S, Z, R, and Grandma