Reflections on the pilot phase by Willie Bembe
April 11, 2011
WILLIE’S EXPIRIENCE WITH THE SINGING WELLS PROJECT
- The guys form Abubilla have just flown in and a small party is being held for them at Sippers Restaurant in Hurllingham with performances from among others Samba Mapangala, Winyo and Ayub Ogada.
- I say hi to Andy who is at the control desk recording the event with the new equipment.
- I meet Jimmy a bit later when the event is over.
- Gosh he’s tall….and very hands on since he was helping take down the mics.
- We gather at the studio so we can set of on the road trip to Malindi
- The tall guy jokes on Jimmy start.
- He is a little taken a back.
- He comes back full swing with jokes of he’s own and I say “Good One”.
In The Car To Malindi
- Jimmy the boss checks in and Andy has to orientate me on protocols ASAP.
- I get the hang of it and I like it.
- Andy falls asleep a little later.
- My goodness…..he snores at +3db…”does he have a girlfriend?” I wonder.
- We get to talk a lot in the car and I realize that Jimmy is not such a stuck up guy after all….he’s alright.
- Journey is long and on getting there everyone is tired and a round of tuskers is greatly appreciated.
- Alas….the restaurant is closed and we have to go out and get some food.
- We get into the car to go and find the first group we are to record Mwanzere Nyere wa Konde.
- Everyone is in high spirits as we get into the compound with old hats and set up the equipment.
- We get to see Andy in he’s real professional self.
- We learn a lot from him since now we can see how it is done in real time.
- The group is amazing.
- The father and son are very talented.
- I start to realize that most of the groups we are recording have members who are very old which means that they have been storing this music for a very long time.
- All this then translates to the project being very important for my generation, the rest of my countrymen and the whole world.
- This is history…..my history.
- The history of African communities is in the stories our grandfathers told us which got distorted over time.
- The safest way to store them was in the music which was passed down from generation to generation.
- Another five years and all this would be gone since the present generation is not really interested in learning there music.
- This is because it’s not packaged in a way that would interest them.
- Have caught on on how to set up the equipment and under the Andy’s guidance do the recording.
- The sound quality coming from the recording is amazing considering we are recording outdoors
- Recording Winyo by the sea shore is a particular favorite.
- Alas…Jimmy is suddenly the guy with the funniest jokes and everyone is laughing their hearts out.
- I still think Andy belongs to a cult where they keep beards like the one jesus did.
- I ask him about it and he growls at me to back off….says he’s got powers and can bite my head off.
- In the African culture, having magical powers is very possible….so I retreat to think about what he said from a distance.
- The drive back to Nairobi seems shorter than the one to Malindi.
- Get to Nairobi and enjoy a nice Ethiopian dinner at the Habesha restaurant.
- Everyone is very tired so we let the big boys have their meeting at the Fairview Hotel.
- It’s our guest’s last day and we enjoy having last recording sessions with them at the studio.
- The “seventeen hour” song is very catchy and Jimmy is dancing all over the place as an African touch is added by Makadem, Winyo and Ayub Ogada.
- Andy is at the control desk being a magician after tearing down our studio so we can use the new equipment.
- Jimmy is an amazing song writer I realise.
We say farewell and they are off to the airport with a promise to return.
11 April 2011