19 July, 2012

Baaba Maal telling stories in a boat

A Room For London

Many warm summers ago, my family sailed with another family, the Rantis, over some weeks on Lake Champlain in the States. They were in their boat. We in ours. It was a very loose arrangement. Each boat would sail around during the day as we so wished in whatever direction the wind took us. We met up at some per-arranged destination in late afternoon. We spent the evenings together watching bats fly, swatting mosquitoes, squishing black flies, talking about sailing, and laughing at silly jokes. The parents teasing the children. The children nudging our parents stories into forbidden areas according to the consumption of rum they were imbibing in.

When our boat was anchored on those late afternoons, it meant my siblings and I had an hour or two to go off in the dingy and explore the coastline or island we were anchored near before dinner was served. When the Rantis put down anchor, it was time for the family to play music. The parents were professional musicians and had to practice the pieces for the next symphony season. The two children (flute and oboe) also had their practice sessions.

So off my sisters and brother and I would go out in our dingy accompanied by their music bouncing over the water right to the corners of beaches and rooks and wooded areas we explored. It was an magic experience.

Boats, dusk into night, family, friends,  stories, music... magic... Baaba Maal, Jim Palmer and Mamadou Sarr performance in A Room for London is all that and more.

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