As Jane once observed, Suzanne’s Mom’s blog likes making connections between random unconnected matters.
This entry makes at least three connections, starting with a Malian colleague at work and ending with a biographer friend who was mentioned in a murder mystery.
To begin at the beginning, I joined my current organization about seven years ago and was “onboarded” with a young guy from Mali. Although he moved back to Africa after five years, we keep in touch, and naturally I have been distressed by the recent trouble in his homeland.
That is why an article by music critic Jim Fusilli in the the Wall Street Journal caught my eye. “To the musicians from Mali [in Paris], the attempt by terrorists associated with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) to suppress music in their country’s north goes beyond politics and religion: It’s an offense to the soul of the nation, where music is more than entertainment, it’s essential to life.”
Fusilli says the musicians are “leveraging their international reputations as creators of the country’s often-inspired music, which ranges from brooding, spiritually minded tunes played on traditional African instruments to a fiery fusion of Afrobeat, rock, R&B and indigenous sounds. It’s a melting pot that absorbs the music of other cultures without losing its native identity.
“On her next album, ‘Beautiful Africa’ (Nonesuch), out in the U.S. on April 9, the singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré sends a message of support to Mali’s women. In Bambara, English and French, she sings: ‘I want to hear your laughter. I admire your courage. I miss your smile.’ ” More.
Now, as it happens, Jim Fusilli, in addition to being a music critic, wrote a mystery series that I gobbled up, and in one novel I noted that the hero was reading a biography by a friend of mine. The biography was of John Quincy Adams, and when I told author Paul C. Nagel, he was delighted that JQA had made it into a mystery story.
So when I read that Fusilli would be at Kate’s Mystery Books, I squeezed through the holiday mystery-buying crowd and gave him Paul’s e-mail. And thus they were in touch.
And thus a colleague from Mali connects to the biographer of John Quincy Adams.
Photograph of Rokia Traoré: http://www.africanmusiciansprofiles.com/