"Ragged," the first depressed rastaman i've met. it's something you just don't want to see. he spoke of the developed rasta communities in Malawi and Tanzania and lamented that Kenya couldn't even put together a good Rasta safehouse. He mentioned how his braids get him much respect in the ghetto, "Everyone yells to me 'hey Ras! gimmie somethin!'" But the braids make it tough to get good work, so he spends his time knitting righteous rasta gear for the whole family (seen here). He was almost finished recording his latest album when the studio he was working at defaulted on its loans and had to auction off all its equipment. Now he has a cd of a couple years' worth of unmastered tracks with no money to finish them. on monday, we made a plan to go together to a new studio where he might be able to get discounted recording time. he lives a few streets down from me.
bedroom recording--at "Dave, the best producer in Kisumu's" home studio. Unfortunately, the kids in the picture are his brother's friends; Dave was out on a date with his girlfriend when we got there.
a righteous critic of this blog has asked why women never make a showing. a good question. here is one woman doing one man's hair. this disproportionate gender distribution somewhat reflects the nature of the scene, but there are plenty of talented and artistic women around, and I'll work on speaking with them more. in the near future we'll have an interview with JaneQo, an art maven in town, known as "crazy angie" to everyone around. i still haven't found out why. more on women soon
more stories tomorrow, but Brian and i hid out under the tin roof of his house as a massive storm blew through. stuck indoors along with his girlfriend and neighbor, we chilled out and watched Phillipino soap operas. "It's a form of brainwashing" he said, "all the women watch these shows about the rich now, and feel like their lives are bad in comparison, and want what they can't have."
"Ragged" the depressed Rasta talked of "reform" and how nothing can happen in Kenya without it--in his opinion even the rastas need reform. Watching the nightly news in Kiswahili while hiding from rain in Brian's room, we heard the leaders of the country talk about how they're reformers, here to save the place from its imminent doom (they said this part in english). so much talk of reform all the time, no wonder people get down on the country.
jogging through the rain in search of green through Brian's ghetto, ducking into different houses, dodging debris and garbage, potholes and farm animals, jumping from one side to the other of the cramped flooded footpath as the sun went down over the tin roofs and crooked skinny trees was probably the highlight of the day. it must have been a funny sight too--the disheveled white boy stumbling to keep up with the rastaman in the rain.