Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Haruna Darboe Option For Gambia's opposition Unity

[If any Gambian has an option which is better than this Agenda, he/she should put it on the table for consideration.] BY
Baks Yamba, this is one of the dead giveaways that indicated to me you're not from Baddibu Salikenye. I think you unduly cause the great people of Baddibu Salikenye much anxiety and chagrin for these and those frauds you perpetrate on them. This and the fact that you spelt Salikenye Salikene tells me you're more likely from somewhere in Kolda. Be that as it may, I want to remind you that in 2006, a brilliant opposition party, the UDP, presented the only and best option to bring all Gambians together and remove Yahya from our conscience. That option, which still lies on the PDOIS mahogany desk, is as follows:
Option 101
Best Option: NRP, PDOIS, ppp, NDAM, all fall-in behind the UDP, the most diverse and largest opposition political party of Gambia, if our goal is to remove Yahya from our collective conscience.
Now Baks, this option remains the only viable and sensible option today. Only now, we can add GMC to the gravitas of this agglomeration. Please do not tell me we've tried this option before as your AGENDA 1965 attempts to purvey in order to captivate the wild imaginations of a persecuted people. And remmember, in this best option, PDOIS, NRP, ppp, and or GMC do not have to dissolve in thin air. They will remain the unique parties they have always been. They will only fall-in behind the UDP candidate in order to REMOVE the criminal Yahya from mis-governing Gambia, to stop the insults, injuries, abductions, kidnappings, assassinations, murders, and mortgaging the future of Gambia's children and grandchildren.

This will usher in the ambient culture of a level playing field for all parties, ruling or opposition, accountability for the public treasury, the much cherished freedoms of expression and association for religion and industry, independent judiciary comprised of Gambian citizens and only in force majeure circumstances, invite foreign justices who share our democratic values and principles. The rule of fear will end overnight.
The political parties will conduct vibrant campaigns for the National Assembly, and in 5 years, all parties will contest the presidency on equal footing.
There is not even any need for NRP, PDOIS, ppp, or GMC to demand government positions or other political office as a reward for supporting the UDP candidate in the 2011 presidential election. This is because such condition is not even significant enough to scupper the grand goal of removing Yahya the notorious criminal. I declare that the UDP is comprised of conscientious and professional adults and I wouldn't be surprised if the government that comes after the historic removal of Yahya is made up of majority NRP, PDOIS, ppp, and GMC.

The moment is too high for the opposition and for all Gambia to be sidetracked by inutile horse-trading. Especially when you consider the alternatives of a dis-united opposition. I know your mind is playing tricks on you because you're focused on that minister position right now. ANd I know you've been waiting for close to 3 decades to be chauffeured with a state flag waving. But bear with me for a minute while I present another scenario to you.
Scenario 1: NRP, PDOIS, ppp, and GMC throw their mights behind the UDP candidate for President and the coalition succeeds in removing Yahya but NRP, PDOIS, ppp, and GMC were not given any ministerial position in the new government.
Scenario 2: NRP, PDOIS, ppp, and GMC throw their mights behind the UDP candidate for President and the coalition succeeds in removing Yahya. And the ensuing government is comprised of NRP, APRC, UDP, PDOIS, ppp, and GMC members in equal proportion (1/6 each).
Scenario 3: Ousainou, Halifa, Hamat, OJ, Yahya, and Mai all contest the 2011 elections under their separate party banners. And Yahya wins. The ensuing government will DEFINITELY not have any UDP, NRP, PDOIS, ppp, or GMC members in it. Those communities which did not vote for Yahya will continue to be persecuted. Insults, Injuries, Abductions, Kidnappings, Assassinations, wanton arrests, rapes, theft, will continue to claim newer victims.

The Judiciary will continue to be made up of the mercenary judges who give aid and comfort to Yahya and other criminals. UDP, NRP, PDOIS, ppp, or GMC, will not be able to campaign freely and equitably in the National Assembly elections. Accidental deaths will occur. Foroyaa will be shut down. Nyakoi schools will be shut down. Those who remain in Mile 2 whose cases have not been heard yet will certainly face expedited railroadings and highly probable death. GRTS will continue to be the reserve of Yahya. You will more likely see defections galore from all the opposition parties to the APRC. I think I can stop here.
Baks Yamba, let me also share the story of Senegal with you. I know you're already familiar with Senegal, but bear with me another moment.
In Senegal, before the current demonstrations demanding Wade withdraw from contesting the next Presidential elections having served two consecutive terms, many of the opposition parties came together to form Benno Sigil Senegaal. Benno Sigil Senegaal (BSS) means "With God's help, we hail Senegaal". Not all of the opposition parties are actually partners of BSS, but a significant enough number came together, and the party of Hon. Macky Saal and another party, I forget the name right off the bat, pledge allegiance to BSS but that allegiance did not prevent them from forming an alliance among the two of them on the side.
This is similar to our scenario 1 above, only NRP and ppp, or NRP and PDOIS, or NRP and GMC form a side alliance to prosecute the NAM elections . The value of such a strategy ould also help blunt any potential waywardness or potential extremities of the UDP once the coalition succeeds in removing Yahya and the UDP decides to hoard all the positions of governance.
Now these parties in Senegal have not been pre-occupied with what positions they will get if their BSS coalition should succeed in removing Wade. This is because the mere agreement and allegiance they paid to BSS emboldened all Senegaal to now demand Wade's withdrawal from contesting the presidency for a third term. And that campaign will succeed.
If that campaign succeeds, there will now NOT be a need for BSS and each opposition or their side-alliances could offer their own candidates because all of them want to become President of Senegaal. If they hadn't formed BSS, the citizens will not be empowered enough to come out in their great numbers to demand that Wade not contest for another term.
I know you're murmuring to yourself "what if Wade refuses to withdraw from contesting...Yadi yadi yadah". Well if Wade refuses to withdraw, his clown IEC will be dispossessed of the honour to organize the elections, and Wade cannot survive a vrai Independent Electoral Commission in Senegaal. So Wade's best option is to avoid being exiled from Senegaal for the rest of his life.

We can now move on to Algebra 101. Later. Haruna.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Jalex Interview

The Interview Proper: Suntou and Jalex

Suntou: Why are you called Jalex?

Jalex: The name is a nickname given to me by a close friend. I am always into music, hence the phrase, Jaliya (singer), which later became Jalex. It is an emphasis to my love of singing.

Suntou: What about the second name you are known by, Akuntu?
Jalex: This is more a club circus name. When a cool music is playing, revelers will usually shout, ‘cut it’ which in Mandinka means, Akuntu.

Suntou: Do you have any special message in your music
Jalex: Yes, because music is a soothing remedy. It heals the heart and calm people down. It also excites and creates an atmosphere of joy, elevation. As musicians, we have to warn, and also entertain. We shouldn’t be agents of the devil.

Suntou: We share one thing in common, which is our surnames. We are not traditional musicians, what makes you choose the music route?
Jalex: Music for me is because of ambition and the gift I have. Therefore, family heritage is not an important element. Jaliya should be open to all those who can perform.

Suntou: No to Caste barrier, will you agree?
Jalex: Very much, it restricts the growth and potentials of people unnecessarily.

Suntou: Is there anybody in your family who was a musician?
Jalex: Yes my grandfather is Jali Fodah Touray. He was the pioneer of the Daa Jalo tradition (male singer accompanied by drummers). Jali Fodah travel all across the Gambia and Senegal. He left a legacy that is very much imitated today.

Suntou: Jali Fodah was a renowned figure in the Mandingo music circle. My grandmother use to always talk about him. What can you tell us about him?
Jalex: Jali Fodah was an only child. In those days, fathers will send their children away to learn under grand Marabous. Jali Fodah was no different. However, his master was a learned Fula teacher. It is narrated that, he gives him a charm for learning. However, he warn his father to make so, Jali Fodah remains in pursuit of education, if not he will become a singer.

Suntou: Did he abandon learning at any point?
Jalex: Yes he did. Sadly, his father passed away and his master also passed away. Jali Fodah then became the breadwinner in his family being an only child. The condition laid down by his teacher was broken.

Suntou: Jali Fodah therefore became a musician, is it that simple?
Jalex: Oh no, in fact, he remain in their village for a long time doing the normal things that men do. However, there was a drummer in the village, Buran Darboe who happens to die. His drums remained at his house with no one able to use them. They said, Jali Fodah one day took them and started playing them. This is how he slowly started his music career.

Suntou: Fascinating story. Where did Jali Fodah perform his trade?
Jalex: all over Cassamance and The Gambia.

Suntou: Do you know any of Jali Fodah’s songs?
Jalex: Yes I do, but in future I will try to compile them.

Suntou: Which modern day traditional musicians can we say imitate Jali Fodah’s music?
Jalex: The late Jalang Demba, the late Buteh Boy, Sajou Band and Toure Kunda (Samala song), Foday Musa Suso, his farming songs, and many others.

Suntou: Is there any place that Jali Fodah was not allowed to perform considering the old strict local cultures?
Jalex: Yes, he was not allowed to perform in Gunjur.

Suntou: Why
Jalex: Because Gunjur was a strict Islamic settlement. No drum was allowed to sound there. This is why Jali Fodah sang the song (sita turukuntu tibiu bantaba, ateel yankoli ten nna dala jela) Gunjur barako banta, meaning here is that, he prophesies that, a day will come when drum will sound in Gunjur day and night..

Suntou: Now back to Jalex, when did you start your musical career or take us through your career before Music
Jalex: You seems to be into the past. Yeah, I started playing music at an early age, however to make it a full time career, that is 1997. But before taking music full time, I am a train professional carpenter. I have worked for well known Gambians like Col Sam Sillah and many of his friends. Music was always going to take over, because even when I started working in the hotel industry, music is always at the background.

Suntou: What is your fan base like
Jalex: I play music internationally, so it is a mix fan base. But wherever I go, I remain true to my roots.

Suntou: How do you describe your music?
Jalex: Afro-reggae

Suntou: You sing in Mandinka with reggae bits, do your fans like it?
Jalex: Yes they do. Look the important thing to understand is that, if you sing in a foreign language, you will be sort of competence. What you are is what describe you. My home language is what I can communicate better with.

Suntou: What is life as a musician like?
Jalex: well not bad. We speak for the voiceless, the poor, the rich, the young the old. Music doesn’t have barrier, I like it when fans enjoy themselves in a tranquil environment. You travel a lot and learn from everything.

Suntou: What advise do you have for parents whose children follow your music?
Jalex: Children are the leaders of tomorrow. We should set them good examples. In my music, I try to communicate these values. If you listen to songs like Wulula (Parents), the song encourages parents to be fair between their male and female children. Children are very observant of how parent treat them, imbalance treatment can cause stubbornness and rebellion.
Suntou: Is the song Akuntu Telendanw Dinaa anything to do with your name?
Jalex: No, it is reference to sharing. People should stop greed, because lack of caring and sharing brings our society down.

Suntou: Why sing a song about Badiyaa?
Jalex: Good and cordial relations should always be maintain in the family no matter what.

Suntou: In Sambi mbina, you convey a powerful message. In that all of us away from home long to see our parents. Are you echoing our desires here?
Jalex: Yeah, I travel frequently. I always long for home, and all the Gambians I meet, the all remember home. We cannot forget about home.

Suntou: You have won several awards, has this change you in any way?
Jalex: No, not all. I am still the humble young man from Baa Kunw Kan (Bakau).

Suntou: Who normally book to perform for them?
Jalex: I play at social functions like New Year party, Kanilai cultural festival, fund raising event for companies and schools. As for schools, when I play for them, all the money they get at the gate is there’s. The Gambia Television promotes our music enormously. We are thankful to them and all those who work there. The Kanilai festival also brings together many Gambian artists, that is good.

Suntou: Finally, will you continue on the traditional Mandingo songs in reggae bits?
Jalex: Yes that is the plan. I will always stick to what I understand.

Suntou: Thank you Jalex for the time
Jalex: Abarakah, I am happy that, Gambians will find out something about me through the interview.

Jalex, A Young Gambian Music Talent on the Rise

By Suntou Bolonba Touray
Music is something each individual experiences, to a modern African; the blend of nostalgic sounds with postmodern awakening of electric enhancement of main stream rhymes is new. Young Gambian musicians have borrowed from lands far away to construct a sound system that, the youth generation respond to.
Can we call it postmodern musical adventure? Some analyst states that, postmodernism influence in traditional music means, “Listeners can understand music of various eras”. Music is considered as an art, the art work is valued from the talent and skill, reputation of the artist. Similarly, looking at the Gambian musical scene today, a variety of young local youths have all discover themselves, embraced their language and culture, thus singing songs with foreign rhymes but in local languages.
Where do these new breeds of Gambian musicians come from? Why do they choose music as a career? What influence them to play music? Do they have a targeted audience?
Tricia Ross’s study of Black Music in America exposed certain mindset amongst Rappers. She found that, the Ghetto is use an identity; therefore Ghetto language plays a lot in the vibes emanating from the Rap Music. Rappers she says use words aimed at black hip hop fans, however, should whites and middle class blacks enjoy it, well and good.
The focus of the interview here is to look the music of Jalex aka Akuntu. He plays a reggae bit with traditional songs. He is not alone, there many other young singers now singing in Fula, Wollof and Mandingo but using reggae bits.
Jalex understood that, the youths love it. The old traditional Sabar sound alone cannot satisfy the musical apatite of the youth, both urban and rural. Reggae penetrated the Gambia since the days of Bob Marley. However, what is new is the borrowing of the sound to sing in local languages.
Older generation and the elite class fancy the Jaliba Kuyateh music, because it elevates them and announces their successes in life. What about our brothers and sisters? What music do they like among their friends? Does it matter what they listen to?
For me it matters, because the ‘ears is said to the window to our hearts’ what people hear often tend to influence them. The sad thing for the young talented Gambian musicians is that, they tend to operate individually. Hardly anyone has a business manager. Their income and expenditure is handled by themselves. This contributes to their exit from the music business without them even realizing it.
Malang Touray, aka Jalex, was born in the town of Bakau, the Gambia. The Grandson of a famous singer, Jali Fodah, he has been inspired by music since his early childhood - an inspiration that came from his grandfather's great work as a cultural musician. Jalex has evolved his own, very distinctive style of music, which he titles "Afro-reggae"
A young new generation of Gambian musician, Jalex aka Akuntu created a good blend of traditional songs and new sound system. I met Jalex at his London base to talk about his style of music and the influence it impact on Gambian youths.
Since music is as good as the artist, it is highly worthwhile to examine the particular musician entertaining our young generations. Jalex came across as a very intelligent and sober talent. He embodied the old and new integrated traditional man. His approach to Gambianess and why Gambians should celebrate their ‘heritage’ is eye catching.
Jalex belongs to the musical family of the Jali-Fodah’s line. During my research, it became evident that, Jalex did not just jump into music like many urban young men; he knew music has deep rooted history in his family.
Jali Fodah is equivalent to Jaliba Kuyateh of today. He traveled all across the Gambia, Senegal and Cassamance. Jal Fodah’s legacy is what, many modern day drummers copy. In Mandingo terms, Jalex’s grandfather is referred to as (Dah Jalo) Male singer. Dah Jalo does not only sing, but he is accompanied by drummers. He must master language and proverbs. Often he wears a costume (dala) in performance.
Jalex is an active individual who practice many trades before settling down for music. His mastery of carpentry brought him in contact with many famous Gambians. His humility and outgoing character played a part in his early success story. He unlike certain young musicians has a deep passion for the art.
Jalex performs for one of Gambia’s GSM service providers every New Year’s Eve. He also plays at hotels, on stage and in private functions. His talent has made him a type that if he is not available in any big event, it’s termed to be incomplete some fans remark.He is always the last performing artist when or where ever there is a Gambian lineup performance simply because of what most organizers have realized, whenever he performs, that’s the end of the show because most of the fans will go immediately.
Jalex Awards and Recognition:
He has won several awarded over his five year music career.
In March 2007 - Winner - The Smiling Coast Riddim Gambia
June 2007 - Winner - Best New Artist - UK Senegambian Awards 2007 (UK)
January 2008 – Nyamato sound track played twice on BBC 1Xtra by DJ Edu UK
February 2008 - Winner "Best Solo Artist" Gam Spirit National Music Awards (Gambia)
February 2008 - Nominated in Male Artist of the Year and Afro-Manding Song of the Year – GT Awards 2008 (USA, UK, Gambia)July 2009 - Ambassador of Bakoteh Annex Lower Basic SchoolMay 2010- Best Gambian Performing Artist of the Kanilai international Festival
Albums or DiscographySoma Alfaa 2007 and Baadiyaa 2009 hits the shops in London and The Gambia
Sambi ibina up coming Album. Jalex is currently in studios recording in preparation of the Sambi Mbina album, the single is out now.

The Six Greatest Kora Masters

Compiled by Suntou Touray

Lalo Keba top left and Jaliba Kuyateh, right.

Koriyan Musa Suso (inventor of the Kora) father of the Kora tradition
Karunka Tuman, he too was another great Kora master
Jali Madi Wullen, his era not far into the past

Wandifen Jali another renown Kora composer

Lalo Keba Drammeh, died not so long ago. He reinvigorated the songs of Wandifen jali.

Jaliba Kuyateh, current top kora player.

Some may say that, the likes of Tuman Jibateh and others are brilliant. However, the added dimention of being accepted in the land of heritage is lacking in their case. Therefore, Kora the instrument goes with its myth just like the Guiter, jembe and other instruments.

This is not my distinction, but that of reputable Kora masters.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

People still wiping off their black skin to be white??!! and Are you for justice or for America/West by Philo Ikonya

My short note is comes from two issues I have reacted to and which I would like to hear more about..

One is our black skins at home and in Europe (NB: Do black men do this?)

I am walking around with my Jamaican friend. She is a super black .. hair, skin, lovely... Then she begins to cringe in the mall. I look across and I see this African sister in the city. Rich. Married here for ages. But she still has never heard of Song of Lawino.. or is it that no one told her she was beautiful at home? She has no skin.. she killed it with chemicals to make it white.. her hair must always be a wig.. and that lipstick style.. I know we can wear ours nicely.. man, it is on lips wrinkled by wine.. should I yell or whine? Shopping in the most expensive things in the best of malls and no one tells you your skin black and beautiful you must keep? Advanced they tell us this country is, the best to live in the world.. and why has not her husband kept her from yellowing.. and the in laws..!? Let me eat pumpkins!

The other is those who argue that the Hague should go for America...

Those who argue that the ICC should go for Amerika and support the AU in not arresting Gaddafi and Omar Al Bashir... the immediacy of your argument maybe clear politically but not at a human rights level. Go to your records and see what kind of cases the ICC takes up please!! If you keep on thinking it will go after a bombing that was agreed at the UN council you are lost. Besides, we cannot blow up a cloud of dust to lose all there is. Some finesse is required. You cannot allow injustice on your land by anyone or because the rest of the world is unjust. Think of it if we applied it to individuals there would be no courts of justice anywhere because all laws are constantly being broken everywhere. We could all even religiously hinge on Biblical injustice to justify all our injustice in the world. There is a whole lot of it there.. if you read it. The law does not exist because we are able to keep it. It is a reminder of our ideal. It is motivation as well as proof that things can be right. I do not think that we are redefining justice here and it means as they tell us in Latin ius... give each her or his due. You must not get frustrated when you see injustice in America/west.
Your work just becomes broader.. if you believe in justice not in America.. You see injustice with America .. you follow the channels that can reach America with your point. One of them is unfortunately not the ICC. USA is not a member state and has not committed itself to the Rome Statute. Pointing at other evils in order not to resolve another evil. It does not work like that. It never did. We are lucky that some thought of ICC.
I mean, look we could all be saying nothing matters since Israel and Palestine.. nothing matters after Auswitch. Nothing matters during and after a Darfur, a Rwanda.. A Pinochet and the Disappeared.. Choose justice and live in your times!

Jalex aka Akuntu

My interview with Afro-Manden music star Jalex to be finish soon. I recorded the interview in a video version, however, the lightening wasn't too good. In any case, I will load it on youtube as well when I am ready with it.

Youth and Beauty

Dozing beautiful sister, be awake!!! the world is much more than you. Dozing handsome brother, pull your pants up, and remember the world revolve around the Sun, not your behind. Youth's beauty and elegance is deceptive, we have all been there..dozing and thinking, we are the Best. Be humble and careful.
Snubbing and puff chested, the decrying of age will cause your entanglement with danger.

Age Is Just a Number

Age is just a number. If you are in your forties or fifties, eat healthy and be active. You can do what those in their thirties can do. It become more than a number if you don't know, your time should be divided between the material, spiritual and personal.