Waiting for Griot II

Note: This is an archived site. Articles, etc. here were written for specific audiences and particular purposes. Not knowing the original context, a piece can appear puzzling or off-putting. Best to avoid what’s not directly recommended to you. What’s below is UNEDITED. Ideally, Paola and Masamba will let me know what they think of the two previous posts and the links here, including http://www.thisisafrica.me/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2 81&Itemid=60. I like Amar’s Jah Sun.

Waiting for Griot II
Dedicated to the day I saw Jah in my son Aja’s name… and the marginalized of the marginalized among the marabouts and mbalax
maa ngi tudd Richard Martin Oxman

“When there is a great art there is always Heaven.” — from the next-to-last link below….

I’ve already written a play called Waiting for Griot, using my experience with Alan Schneider and Samuel Beckett at the Museum of Modern Art in 1965 as a point of departure. But now I want to write another dramatic work of the same title which is centered on a storyteller in western Africa who perpetuates the oral tradition and history of a village… and a truly singular family.

All else being equal (which I know is rarely the case in life), I’d like to have it performed at Villa Lina in Italy, just outside Ronciglione, thirty miles or so north of Rome. There I could draw quite a crowd with what I have in mind*, and I fancy that I could do some serious fund raising for the Baye Fall Community (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mouride#Baye_Fall) in Senegal with what we would put on the boards. [Pause.] And, Jah help me, I could put a serious dent in our horrid momentum worldwide. [Pause.] I know, I know.

*The “numbers” could be… sky’s the limit. I have a way to market the whole kit and kaboodle legitimately… which would ensure optimal attendance. At no cost.

Ambition has zero to do with all this. Necessity and Joy everything.

My cloudland, which is the realm of the poetic imagination, has me writing the whole shebang with Masamba Fall Sy and/or Paola Igliori. In a pleasureful setting.

To get things started:

Imaginary curtain rises

Narrator (with dialect from Dakar): October and November are fairly dry, though very hot. If you can take the temperatures, this is a great time to come. You can enjoy the sight of lush greens, swelling rivers and large waterfalls while staying totally dry.

November to February, when conditions are also dry but relatively cool, is the best time to watch wildlife and birds. [Appropriate sounds are festooned throughout a very long pause.]

Several of Senegal’s famous dance and music festivals, however, tend to take place between April and June, when temperatures are higher and the climate is still dry.. and the Harmattan Haze has blown away.


I’ll stop here at this juncture. I’d like Masamba and/or Paola to insert some links which provide wondrous music; choices can be tweaked later. Then I can continue.

Contact Richard at tosca.2010@yahoo.com OR impelus@gmail.com, please.

P.S. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xjPODksI08 is different than http://playingforchange.com/episodes/3/One_Love. Much beautiful effort was put into both by the Playing for Change people from L.A. [Pause.] Could never figure out why they wouldn’t engage me in discussion. Could have helped them with fund raising. More importantly, I might have moved their message from the periphery, kept them from being so marginalized. At no cost to them whatsoever. [See the notes on "atomization" in The Intangibles for Villa Lina] This dynamic is, sadly, too common in activist quarters.

“O Bailan Todos O No Baile Nadie” — the Tupamaros of Uruguay in the 60s