interview


Loomnie’s blog

  Peopleized by: Szavanna – Wednesday, 18 July 2007

loomnie Growing up in a small town in Nigeria – Loomnie’s thoughts on his childhood and his musical experiences

Szavanna: Greetings and many thanks for doing this interview. Please say a few words about yourself and/or your blog.

loomnie: I am a Nigerian blogger working in Germany. I discovered blogging a couple of years ago. It started as a sort of personal reflection, but as the audience increased the posts have become sort of modified. These days I blog about places I visit, movies I watch, books I read and music I listed to. There is no theme to the posts, really; I write about whatever catches my fancy.

Szavanna: Since there are more and more posts on music on your blog – (the last one was about a South African band, Freshlyground), in your Blogger profile you say you like Miles Davis, you wrote about Tinariwen, Ali Farka Toure, Bongos Ikwue and others – it shows that you are interested in a wide range of styles. Where does this interest come from – any specific reason for being so open to music from so many countries – any strong musical background that explains these musical choices?

loomnie: I really don’t know where the interest comes from… ok, let me think about it. I grew up as one of four children in a middle-class family in a Nigerian small town. There wasn’t much to do socially apart from being with friends in school and listening to the radio. The public service radio was pretty and most of the Nigerian music I have recently blogged about I listened to on the radio while growing up in the 80s and early 90s. They also played jazz music from artistes like Tico Rico, Louis Armstrong, Earl Klugh etc. Also, my grandfather died sometime in the early 90s so I literally inherited his library. His library was rich so it opened me up to a lot of things. I kind of ‘discovered’ jazz during my university days, but the striking thing was then when I formally discovered it it was because it reminded me of the kind of music I used to listen to growing up. I explored a bit and found other interesting kinds of music that I loved… the lists just kept growing, jazz, latin jazz, blues, soul… the older sounding the better. Now I am tuned to some younger people. Discovered Joss Stone, Jamie Cullum, Renee Olstead a couple of years ago, just about the same time I got acquinted with the music of Ali Farka Toure and Amadou et Miriam Bagayoko… and as you can see on my blog, I am still exploring. I hope I answered your question.

Szavanna: I’d like to ask a few questions about your childhood. I am not sure if you grew up in Lagos or somewhere else – please tell me a bit about the place you grew up in.

loomnie: I already said a bit about the place…. It is a small town, kind of ancient, town. It is in the Yoruba-speaking part of Nigeria. It is not special in any way, just one of those towns that are slow and comfortable. I think that informs why I don’t particularly love big cities

Szavanna: Can you tell me about the role music played when growing up – did you play any instruments, did any specific type music influence you – any musician or style of music and made an impact in any way?

loomnie: My mother belongs to a church whose joint national choir has about the largest orchestra in Nigeria. I attended the church for some time myself. My mother plays the viola, that obscure sister of the violin. My younger brother plays the piano, and I tried learning the flute too… I dropped it after a while, and I still regret it now. It would have been nice to have that right now. Yes, there was some music in my life as a kid growing up. Actually, thanks for asking these questions; they are making me think more about my life as a kid!

Szavanna: Have you ever made instruments (anything to make noise with:)from material that you found at home when you were small and if yes what type of instrument was it (drums, or shakers or a guitar etc.)- or if not – do you remember someone else doing so?

loomnie: No, I don’t think I ever make any instruments as a kid…well, the thing was that anything could be a drum: the tabletop, the wall sometimes, a whole lot of things. But I never made any instruments…

Szavanna: Some time ago West African idol was on TV and we were watching many of the initial auditions which I found quite entertaining for a while since here in South Africa we don’t usually get to see programs from other countries in Africa (sadly). One of the judges was Dede Mabiaku – who (if I know it right) is a Fela student. What do you think about the show and about Dede’s music?

loomnie: I am sorry but I didn’t watch Idol West Africa at all… I was in Europe when it aired.

Szavanna: I have always been interested in finding out more about the life and times of Fela – how did he and his music influence the communities around you while growing up?

loomnie: Fela was great in so many ways. I think that he is the greatest musical export Nigeria ever had. And he deserves every accolade that has ever been showered on him… of course, except the ones that take him to be a deity. When Fela died I was only 17 so he didn’t have much influence on me when he was still alive. His influence came much later. I remembered listening to his music along with the others on the radio when I was growing up, but in my small town things didn’t really get to us. I guess that if I was in Lagos at that time I probably would have more stories to tell. I can tell you stories about Fela but I don’t think I really have any rights or qualifications to do that; there are qualified people who have done that and are still doing it.

loomnie’s Page Authors Page: Szavanna

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When it comes to Web 2.0 tools – everyone gets to be on both sides – all of us can read and all of us can write the posts, listen to music or upload your own compositions, buy a book or publish one. You are also encouraged to do all the above together with others running similar projects – you are encouraged to collaborate within your communities. “Conversational knowledge sharing” – says Steve. Things work quite differently these days on the NET and a very good example of these concepts is the Wikipedia. Carte-Blanche recently did a story on it and I thought this video might be interesting for all those that have been wondering how it started and how it is being maintained.

Wales video

Click to see the video on Zoopy.com

So who are all those people that are writing the articles on Wikipedia? One great example of a Wikipedian is Ndesanjo, Tanzanian blogger, who is the main contributor to the Swahili Wikipedia – (http://sw.wikipedia.org/).

Swahili, which is thought to be spoken by as many as 100 million people, is the first African-language Wikipedia to have reached the 1,000-article mark — considered something of a tipping point toward faster growth in the Wikipedia world. ( Read Noam Cohen’s article on Ndesanjo and African-language Wikipedias )

To get to know more about Ndesanjo’work, his blogs Jikomboe and Digital Africa here is Dara‘s video :

Patrick Tutwiler interviews blogger & wikipedian – Ndesanjo Macha

(Thanks Dara! – If you are up for it – please write about the making of this video – it’d be interesting to hear about the reasons for choosing Ndesanjo, and whether there is gonna be a follow-up video with him in the future. Looking forward to new videos & interviews from you on YouTube.)

Probably he needs no introduction to most of those reading this – still I hope this post provides you with a little extra about the storyteller of Izzonline 🙂

GOB!G on life – an intro to Izzonline

Peopleized by: Szavanna – Tuesday, 10 July 2007

izzonline Izz on storytellers, asking the right questions – he also writes about his plans with his blog Izzonline.

IzzonlineSzavanna:

Thanks so much for making the time to answer my questions. Please introduce us to Izz by using a few one-word adjectives and nouns

izzonline: Still honestly don’t know the difference between adjective, noun and verb. But let my try:

Willing,

Determinant,

Father,

Hubby,

Writer,

Rebel,

Soloist

Szavanna: What search terms & keywords do people use to find your blog?

izzonline:

“from content with little comes happiness”

Robin Sharma,

Greatness guide,

Mxit naked pictures,

Inspiration,

Izzonline,

Israel Mlambo,

Best life,

Szavanna: You say in your blog you are a storyteller – please tell us about the responsibilities of a modern day storyteller?

izzonline: Storytelling today is, to me, unlike in the latter days. Today you need to be able to entice your reader and to offer not only truth, but entertaining truth. The reader of today doesn’t go a day without consuming junk – be it in writing or edibles, so the storytelling has to, without being too superflous, skate on thin line to cater for that too. Unlike telling attractive urban legends, one needs to weave together believable magic with enough mystery – the human culture is still seduced very much by mystery. In short, in the modern day, storytelling supercedes telling a story. It’s about taking a reader for an experience because we have to remeber, today’s nation hates reading any sentence longer than five words.

Szavanna: Something tells me that you have some B!G plans with your blog – please tell us a bit about the reasons for setting up your blog and writing those posts one after the other?

izzonline: The sub-B!G plan is to make the izzonline.co.za (soon to be) the #1 blog in South Africa. And I think by mid next year this goal will have been more than achieved.

I set it up, initially, to hold myself to practice, daily, a skill that I feel was starting to be taken for granted in my life: writing. In writing, when those words pour out, unforced, my soul opens up. Those words give me a beautiful path to my soul – I’d like to believe.

Since the initial phase of the blog had passed, the reasons for the blogs existence include: maintaining a repository of my thoughts, engaging others in views that I otherwise would have thought were perfect from where I’m standing. The biggest achievement (reason) of my blog though, is, it let me to starting to write a novel (fable in fact): The Half Prince of Timbuktu – A Quest for True Joy, which is, I want to convince myself, going to be one of the worlds international bestsellers (don’t ask me, I think I’m half asleep as I write this).

Szavanna: Do you find the blog format appropriate – how is it working so far to get your message through?

izzonline: The blog platform is just incredible for me. It does what it is supposed to do without the hassle of tech savviness. It has opened doors to many who also wanted to interact, through their writings, on the blogosphere.

The only thing that I still need to clear out though, is when to get personally attached to ones writings and when not to. For me, the vanity that comes with that sometimes may drive away otherwise good readers.

Szavanna: Your posts all end with the Voltaire quote- “Judge of a man by his questions, rather than by his answers.” I also think it is really important to ask questions and also to ask the right ones – what advice would you give “peopleized newbies” like me – what does one have to consider when asking questions?

izzonline: I’ve evolved from using quotes at the end of my posts because I had to increase ways of marketing my blog, meaning that invite unsavvy readers to email the post to friends. But that quote still defines my approach to life. That one must ask questions – curiosity leads to discovery.

My take on it is that one must ask questions not expecting to find perfect fit answered, but rather bits and pieces that may still need to be digested in to an answer. Sometimes we get lucky and get the right answer, but if we expect it, we are more than likely to be dissapointed and that could lead to one asking lesser questions. The lesser the expectation (more curiousity though) the better.

Szavanna: My last question has to be of course : how did you find my questions – did I ask the right ones in order to get the basic picture and meaning behind Izzonline?

izzonline: Your questions also helped rethink what izzonline stands for. Almost like you were forcing me to look at my own product with a magnifying glass. And from that, I benefitted as well. GOB!G on Life.

izzonline’s Page   Authors Page: Szavanna

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Izz – thanks so much for the answers – and thanks again for the posts – I have already learned so much from all the info, thoughts and quotes at Izzonline – best wishes with your plans and looking forward to getting a copy of your fable once published!

This is a topic that fascinates me – since the very first time I sent that e-mail I was amazed by the power of the Internet and I really enjoy exploring web 2.0 tools.

I fully believe that there are major problems with today’s educational system – I don’t think we learn the right things at school – (to see this we only need to look at today’s world and all the problems we encounter and cause on a daily basis) – I always beleived that knowledge and skills must be freely shared from person to person ( it used to be the case in the old days – it’s actually nothing new ) and that is what I try to do on a daily basis in the OpenCafe.

I don’t have any qualifications when it comes to IT – I learn everything I know from manuals, mailing lists, websites that I find on the NET – similarly to all others in the open source world – the knowledge I have picked up so far enables me to run an Internet cafe, create websites, write books, run workshops – in other words all the skills I learn (for free) I use daily in my work – and I see a lot of potential in the new tools I see appear on the web almost daily to help me learn in an even more efficient way and also help me apply my new knowledge using web 2.0 tools.

Steve’s blog, How To Split An Atom explores web 2.0 concepts – it’s a new world – and his blog will help you get to survive in it.

How to Split an Atom

Steven on web 2.0

Peopleized by: Szavanna – Friday, 06 July 2007

sbspalding All about the meaning behind web 2.0 and exploring the concept of a \”2.0 culture\” in which we translate web 2.0 concepts into offline tools for those without Internet and computer access.

Szavanna: Thanks for agreeing to answer these questions and many greetings from the OpenCafe. Please introduce yourself in a few words and tell about the reasons for choosing to write about web 2.0 related topics.

sbspalding: My name is Steve Spalding, I am an Engineer, blogger (How To Split An Atom), entrepreneur and web enthusiast. I choose to write about Web 2.0 because I believe the idea of the “social web” and the communities that have been created around this idea is fertile ground for all the next, big disruptive forces in technology.

Szavanna: You say your blog is about “Web 2.0 culture, and how to survive in it” – it does sound like there are some challenges to overcome in this new online world – what are some of these?

sbspalding: The short list are these: information overload, loss of identity, management of reputation, and privacy to name a few.

For every new innovation there are associated challenges. Web 2.0 is no different.

Szavanna: Web 1.0, web 2.0, web 3.0 – how would you say the web evolved over time and where is it heading? (If you can describe in a few sentences.)

sbspalding: Absolutely.

Web 1.0 was the static web, in this web we were fed information and we consumed it.

Web 2.0 is the community web. Now, information is all a part of a conversation. We have social networks, blogs and wikis that allow is to interact with knowledge.

Web 3.0 will be the semantic web. When we have orders of magnitude more knowledge than any one person could ever hope to deal with, we’ll need ways to parse it down into manageable chunks. Web 3.0 will answer these questions. Once a week or so I blog about this over at How To Split An Atom.

Szavanna: What role widgets play in today’s Internet – what are some of the best uses for widgets?

sbspalding: Widgets help simplify and codify the web. They allow is to easily import information from various “islands” in our web empires. As we continue to participate in larger and larger numbers of web services, widgets will be the technology that enables to pull all of the information we produce back into a central location.

Szavanna: There seems to be a big gap between social networking online and offline – do the two worlds ever meet?

sbspalding: More and more. People are selling real, physical property on Facebook and Craig’s List. In Second Life, real money transactions occur daily, on business cards many people are starting to include their personal websites and blogs.

Our digital lives and our “real” lives are becoming more intertwined on an almost daily basis.

Szavanna: I have always been interested in finding ways of “translating” web 2.0 concepts to just “2.0 culture” what would be possible ways of broadening this new trend and include everyone in it – be it Internet user or someone without computer and Internet access?

sbspalding: 2.0 culture. That’s an interesting concept, one that I agree with. The idea is simple, “2.0” is conversational knowledge sharing.

I know something, whether it is a broad topic or a narrow niche and I make my knowledge easily available to those around me. Basically, “2.0” thinking is evangelizing for the long tail.

Instead of thinking of knowledge in terms of broad subject we think more in terms of narrow niches, and we focus our energy on spreading that knowledge as efficiently as possible.

Szavanna: OpenCafe’s approach – kind of a web 2.0 for everyone – an open source Internet cafe that offers and supports the creation and sharing of open source software/open content support, free skill exchange, international audience both offline and online – we are a kind of “offline widget” 🙂 – taking online content making it available in an offline non-profit setup ( via our Freedom Toaster and other tools ) with a strong educational focus – any thoughts/suggestions for our project – can such a project become a global trend and contribute to new ways of teaching, learning and interacting?

sbspalding: I think it’s a fantastic idea mate, one I would be more than happy to explore on my blog if you are willing to sit down for an interview yourself? Thanks for the opportunity.

sbspalding’s Page   Authors Page: Szavanna

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Steve thanks for the interview – so much to learn – so I will be exploring your blog further – in order to gather questions for future interviews on this topic.

It all started with MyBlogLog 🙂 I saw that someone called Ishtar had a look at my profile. And after that everything is a blur 🙂 I got stuck on her blogposts – this interview will explain a bit about the reasons why :

Niger – land of Eden – an interview with Ishtar

Peopleized by: Szavanna – Sunday, 24 June 2007

Ishtar About Ishtar, Niger and the Eden foundation – just an intro actually – make sure you get the bigger picture on Ishtar\’s blog – once you have seen it – you will probably spend the rest of your night reading through all her stories.

Szavanna: Hi Ishtar – thanks for agreeing to answer my questions. My first question of course is – how did you end up in Niger in 1986? What connections did your parents have with Africa?

Ishtar: My Dad first crossed the Sahara desert the mid 1970s, when the first seed of Eden was born. There’s an article on Eden’s website entitled The Lost Treasures of Eden, which talks about how he came across a plant growing in the middle of nowhere. He was struck by its potential and wondered what the consequences would be if such a plant could give human food.

My parents chose Niger because out all the countries in West Africa, it was the country most threatened by desertification, and yet was at the time receiving the least international aid. So that’s the reason why we packed all our belongings and drove south from Tunisia to Niger, a journey that took a little more than five weeks.

Szavanna: You write that you stay 6 months in Sweden and 6 months in Niger – what do you do in those half-year periods?

Ishtar: Well, when I’m in Africa, I work with PR, writing Eden newsletters and articles, working with correspondence and training the Eden field team in what kind of information our sponsors (most of the private people) are interested in hearing. We have a very rich material with 7000 pictures and lots of social documentation, so to me, it’s a dream job because there is always something to say.

The only catch with working as a volunteer in Niger is that I don’t get paid, so when I’m in Sweden, I mostly work (for money, currently I have two jobs), hold Eden presentations and catch up with friends and family.

Szavanna: Describe a day in Niger – what do you do from the moment you wake up till you go to sleep?

Ishtar: Wow, what nostalgia you awake! Normally I start the day with work, but it’s my intension to start every morning with a quick ride, even if it means going up at six o’clock. Just have to get to bed later, meaning I can’t sit up and blog, hehe! Anyway, work hours in Niger are between 07.30-12.30 followed by a long siesta, only to pick it up again in the afternoon from 3.30-6.30 pm. When I was studying, I used bring out my books in the sun after lunch and wrap up in time to have a ride in the afternoons. Since discovering the solar oven, I normally fix the next day’s lunch in the evening instead of in the middle of the day, and this saves a lot of time as food is ready when you come home and you just have to take it out of the solar oven. So somewhere after supper, I normally go into the kitchen and put together what seems to be a good mix. I really enjoy cooking and the solar oven has been an intriguing challenge as you have to rethink, as slow cooked food needs to be positioned in a certain way, and you also have to think about differences in texture and moisture. The best thing about solar cooked food however is neither that it’s time consuming or cheap, but the amazing richness is taste that you get! As for the rest of the household chores, there is often a lot of people coming and going while you’re at home. There’s the greengrocer man who sells fruit and vegetables, the meat man who (obviously) sells meat, the egg man from Kania and so on … People are really into coming home to you in Niger, which is cool since you don’t have to rush around town trying to get hold of people, but it can also get a bit too busy, going from one person to another. There’s a man for just about everything, but the greatest luxury is having your personal tailor come with clothes you get to try at home, and if there is something that doesn’t fit, he fixes it! At least as long as it’s still fixable, that is…

So as you can see, my days are pretty much filled up with work, horses, household stuff and seeing people, an “obligatory” half-an-hour in the sun (I seem to need it as much as coffee and my daily timeout with the horses) and then finally keeping in touch with people in Europe. That’s why I started the blog in the first place, so that I could post all the pictures in the same place and not have to send them around all the time. I was into writing personal newsletters (still do, although not very frequently), but by the time I got them out, all my close friends had already heard the details, so they didn’t find them very interesting anymore…

Szavanna: Please introduce us to the Eden Foundation.

Ishtar: Ah… Eden Foundation is next to Niger the love of my life! Eden is, simply put, quite unique. It’s visionary, it’s down-to-basic kind of aid that makes a genuine contribution. It’s not the place to go if you’re a mainstream kind of person, because you wouldn’t like the time tables we use. If the development work you do is going to be sustainable in the end, it has to start from the inside, and Eden has a lot of patience. We believe in a simple solution, but we let things take their time. And the success has been huge. I came into Eden at a time when there were things to show for all the hard work, but my parents started off with just a vision. My role is easy: I look at the changes that are taking place within our Tanout society and I translate it to Western people so that they can see it for what it really is. I love telling people about Eden. I love holding presentations and telling people about the awakening that has taken place amidst the least developed area in the least developed country in the world. I show pictures of genuine happiness, of proud mothers and their healthy children, of fathers who have understood the value of trees and who have gone against local customs and stopped cutting down their perennials in order to get rid of crop-eating birds. When I present our Eden families to the rich in Europe, they marvel. I still remember the top bankers at a Swedish Rottary club who tanked me for coming to them, saying “We just can’t believe how those people can be so happy.” For them, it was an impossibility. Poor people with nothing but fruits – how could they be so happy? You see, Westerners have all the material but not the happiness. My dad is right when he writes: “It is difficult to understand, but just as the rich never found the right food, they never seem to find the right values either. The worst thing we can do is to be contemptuous toward the poor and their lifestyle. Electricity will not solve their problems, neither will cars. The infrastructure that would open Africa for export and import will not solve their problems and it may never even become a reality. By enabling people to produce their own food, so retaining their intrinsic dignity, they are being given a chance not by being told what to do, but by being given multiple options in life.” He wrote that more than twenty years ago and I still marvel, because there’s continuity about Eden and I like that.

Szavanna: How would you describe Niger to someone who has never been there ( I know it’s not easy to give a short description )

Ishtar: Niger is the country that stands still, for better or for worse. It’s a country where things take ages to come about and where stressful people go berserk. But that’s just the thing really. The first two weeks in Niger, when coming from any progressing areas, are disastrous, unless you’ve come for a vacation. However, after those first two transitional weeks, something within in you will change, and the real culture chock actually arrives when you come back to your home country, wondering why everybody is doing what they are without ever asking themselves why…

Szavanna: How did Niger and travelling in general changed how you look at life?

Ishtar: Ah… Niger is my little “life secret”. It’s a special pulse that I carry within me wherever I go. On the outside, I make a perfect Swede, but not a day that goes by when I’m away from Niger that I don’t think about it, when I don’t count the days until I go back. Traveling in general has made me a lot more humble towards other societies, but since I have been traveling since the age of 1, I don’t really know what I was like before I started traveling… 🙂 It’s just a natural part of my life, living in a world where we may all be very strong individuals, but where we still have to share with all our neighbors. Regardless of how much we have or don’t have in common!

Ishtar final

Ishtar’s Page   Authors Page: Szavanna

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We learn from every person we meet. Even if we don’t ask them questions.

Imagine ‘not meeting’ all the people you have met in your life – would you be the same person now? How do the people in your life influence you? Sometimes we tend to do what the others around do because …. well just because they do it. Sometimes we get totally irritated with others and say ‘that’s ridiculous‘ but we never think of the fact that they might have a perfectly logical explanation for the things they do’. I know I do ‘ridiculous’ things all the time 🙂 but I can assure you – I have reasons for all of those things. The reason is the people around me ( including all the bloggers I have discovered on the NET ) – they taught me unbelievable things – and most of them were not my teachers – they were just ‘around’.

Izzonline‘s posts all end with a quote by Voltaire – “Judge of a man by his questions, rather than by his answers.” May be I should ‘ask’ Izz why he chose that specific quote to add to each of his posts.

When we were kids – all we did was ask – ‘Mama why is it like this – why is it like that – but once we are adults – we tend to just ‘do things’ and we stop asking questions – we many times get annoyed when our kids carry on asking all those questions.

When it comes to artists – they are there for us – the ‘fans’ – the audience, the readers, the listeners – but do we get the chance to ask them questions? Do they have the chance to get feedback or answer questions about that poem, song or painting? I’d love to be able to ask Abdullah Ibrahim or Vusi Mahlasela a few questions so that I can get the stories behind the songs. Most of the time this is not the case – this is why it is great that I have the opportunity to ask questions from Maria about her play.

This is my second interview at Peopleized.com – this site gives me the opportunity to carry on asking those questions – (not that you can’t ask questions otherwise 🙂 ) and figure out what the people of the blogsphere have to say about the reasons for doing the things they do.

What you need is a sheep!

Peopleized by: Szavanna – Saturday, 16 June 2007

Baaahhh An interview with Maria about her theater piece, Baaahhh!!!

Szavanna: Thanks so much for agreeing to answer my questions! Please introduce yourself in a few words.

Baaahhh: Hello there…my name is Maria Riboli, I’m an Italian actress/director who’s been living in NYC for the past 9 years…and I love it!!!

Szavanna: Please introduce your play in 1-2 sentences.

Baaahhh: BAAAHHH!!!(www.baaahhh.com) tells the story of what happens when one sheep decides it doesn’t want to follow the herd;)

A man, a sheepskin jacket and the mayhem of a bureaucracy.

Szavanna: What are your reasons for choosing this specific play?

Baaahhh: This project was born during a long Roman night spent talking about work, theater and life with a great friend and a professional who I admire and respect deeply, Stefano Genovese. At the time I was looking for a new project to dive into but I wasn’t having any luck…then Stefano told me about this play “Baaahhh!!!” (original title “Sako Ot Velur” by S. Stratiev). The passion for this play has captured me from the very beginning.

The irony and the comedy that ties this pièce together is universal: it could be taking place in Bulgaria, in Italy, or in the United States…any audience would be able to identify themselves, to laugh and cheer for our heroes and their battles against the windmills of today and to rejoice in the victory of Honesty and Tenacity of those “everyday” characters.

Szavanna: “Never give up on your dreams” – you say – tell me about one of your dreams and how you work towards achieving it

Baaahhh: I truly believe that we should Never give up on our dreams…this is my dream right now…this play, this project…I believed in it from the very beginning and I just followed my heart…that doesn’t mean that it’s an easy road, not at all, but you can’t go wrong if you follow a true passion…

You have to work really hard and you have to put everything you have, all your energies, in it…I do surround myself with people who have great sensibility, great talent and great visions…you always need other people around you that you can trust and that you can grow from…

Always try to reinvent yourself…follow your heart…follow your dreams…one of my lines in the show says “If you’re sixty and you wake up one morning and nothing hurts…you’re dead”.

I do want be able to look back and be proud of what I’ve done, and I want be able to say “I gave it everything I had”…

Szavanna: This is my 10th year here in South Africa – one learns so much when living in a new country – you have spent 9 years in the USA – how is your experience so far?

Baaahhh: I have to say it’s been great!!!

I’ve always been fascinated with the States since I was a child (my parents couldn’t figure out why)…when I was just 5 years old I used to say “One day I’ll live in NYC and I’ll be an actress”…little that I knew my dream came true (you see dreams do come true hehehe).

I have to say that I adore New York…I don’t know if I would be able to live anywhere in the US, like I wouldn’t be able to live anywhere in Italy…but NY is just an amazing place to be…you feel alive and I knew I was “home” the moment I put my feet “in” it;)

NY challenges you, loves you and hates you…you have to keep up with “her” (yup NY is a she)…but the amount of knowledge and experience that you get here in just a short period of time, is huge compared to what some people go through their whole life.

Szavanna: Our artproject, ArtMarketOnline (www.artmarketonline.co.za) is focusing on providing free support for all those artists that need some help using computers and the Internet, publish their books online or learn to take part in online collaborations like the projects of ccmixter.org – what are your thoughts on such a project?

Baaahhh: I think it’s amazing!!!

Supporting the arts is supporting life, we need to be able to express ourselves, to communicate…without art you can’t grow…

I’m just so happy to know that there are organizations like ArtMarketOnline (www.artmarketonline.co.za) that offer so much support and for FREE!!!

Great great great job!!!

Szavanna: And last but not least – (I like to ask this question often) how do you see the role of art and artists in today’s world?

Baaahhh: Again I think it’s vital…but I also see a lot of very poor choices, just because they bring the big bucks…we need to see more original work, less revivals…we need to be more open to other cultures, other ways to live life…that’s when we’ll grow…

I think art in every form, from theater, to sculptures, to paintings, to music, to dance and so on, it’s one of the things we need to open our minds and make this earth a better place.

Arts give emotions…and that’s a very precious gift you can donate to another human being.

Baaahhh’s Page   Authors Page: Szavanna

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Hugh Masekela is definitely a person I’d think of if some in Hungary asked me – ” so tell me all about it” – his jazz sound is really very unique – it tells a lot about all the travels he’s done but also about his South African roots.

While I was browsing and actually hardly found anything real Masekela related info – I finally came accross this 2002 Afropop.org interview by Banning Eyre – it’s quite a long one – it will give you a good idea about the life work of this SA jazz maestro:

B.E.: …. let’s talk about your side. You weren’t able to go to South Africa for how long?

Hugh:Thirty years.

B.E.: So what’s it like to live there again now?

Hugh: Well, for me it’s a real bonanza because I never thought I’d be able to go back home, and I’ve been back twelve years. And in twelve years, I’ve been able to get to the point where like this album Time is on Chissa Records, which is our own label. I think that, except for like the young musicians who are into like what is called kwaito–South African hip-hop or whatever you call it–they are the first people to do their own productions. It the same way it happened when reggae started in Jamaica or when samba became a craze in Brazil. We’re just getting into a stage where we’re building the first steps towards creating our own industry, and our own manufacturing, wholesaling and marketing, and hopefully our own distribution. And our own broadcasting. But that’s going to take time because we are trying to access a business that was previously white owned. With Chissa, we’re trying to set up something that is modeled on Motown, where there’s collaboration instead of divided artists. We all try to bring like excellence out of each other. (read on…)

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