Apr. 30th, 2010

debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Yesterday evening at around 5 p.m., as I was grading student speaking exercises, a friend of mine from PC-RIM called to tell me that he had bought a ticket for me to go see Baaba Maal with him the same evening. I was unhappy and disappointed, because everyone who could have subbed for my 6:40-8:40 class had left.

I finished grading papers and was well into teaching the class (it being about 7 p.m.) when one of my coworkers came in and told me his students hadn't shown, and he'd be willing to take over for me. I all but bolted out of the classroom, called my friend, and an hour later I was at GW's Lisner Auditorium and Baaba Maal was onstage.

He started with a couple of low-key numbers that made me cry. I try to forget, a lot of the time, how much the Fuuta is part of me - the language, the people, the way of seeing the world, have all played a major role in my life. I try to forget because I can't go back at the moment, and it's very painful.

Then the lively music started, and people began to stand and clap and rush the stage. In a moment, I joined them. I stayed up there for two hours. I was brought onstage twice - once by my friend A.B., who had come separately and found me during the dancing, and once by one of the drummers. I didn't stop smiling for two hours.

Afterwards, we waited by the stage door for him to come out - a group of Haalpulaarebe, three of my Peace Corps friends (all Hassaniya/French speakers, not Pulaar speakers), the husband of one of them (a Wolof speaker), and me, the oddity who speaks Pulaar. I made friends with the Haalpulaarebe and an American man named Fred. The band started to come out one by one and greet and talk to us. We took pictures; some people got autographs; I got to speak lots of Pulaar. Then Baaba Maal himself came out, and we got to greet him and speak with him a bit (he does have the world's softest hands) and he looked at me in particular in a startled way and said, in Pulaar, "Your Pulaar is really clean!" (This means good or proficient.) We took photos. It was fun, fun, fun to be a groupie. We talked some more to the band members and a nice couple (husband Haalpulaar, wife white American) who had driven down from Pittsburg. One of the techs was from Thies, which is where one of my favorite Senegalese singers/groups (Masane - pronounced maasaanay - is the singer, Waflash is the group) comes from. I've been looking for CDs of theirs for years; the pirated cassette I have is warpy. The man offered to send me one. He shares my admiration for Masane.

I got home at 12:30 a.m. and spent the next hour being giddy and giggly in [livejournal.com profile] papertigers's general direction. It was an exceptional evening.


debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)

January 2011

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