31 October 2010


Underneath the spaghetti Junction

There is much music in the world to move me. That’s what it does – it moves you. Well, at least it moves me. Some songs on the headphones give me the boost of the strongest coffee without the feeling of nausea and psych me like a personal trainer on my shoulder. Others make relaxing easy and then there’s uplifting, calming, thoughtful, hopeful and just, you know, general music that doesn’t move me on any other emotional level expect the appreciation of the aesthetic.

Here’s a few samples of these – the links for free, legal tracks are provided by the artists or labels.

I support independent South African street music, as much as I have means to, financially, politically, intellectually and emotionally. If that makes much sense. I have a soft spot for it, but just because occasionally it may appear that I am uncritical shouldn’t be confused with not being very critical; only that here in the blog I have a habit of sharing and recommending music I love and want to – bad tracks generally don’t get reviewed or even mentioned much. I especially like to give all my support to the Cape Town music as the Gauteng-centric media and entertainment industry (is there even any difference between the two) is blatantly ignoring it.

Having said that – whatever the situation would be I have liked many of these Cape Town artists for a good few years. One of them is a crew called Driemanskap. You should know them by now. And now that the Drie has become four members they’ve become all the more potent.

Here’s an old unreleased track, Sendibuyile, mainly by the long unavailable Redondo who has been back for some time now. Dplanet from the label mentioned that the audio quality is not top notch, but it’d have to be pretty bad for me not to like this and to be fair he continued, and I quote directly, “it's still a banger.”

Another recommendation for today is the new mixtape by Sway who has been doing very big things in the UK and worldwide for years now. Actually, any independent artist should learn from his experiences and figure what use they could be in any given context one might exist in. Download the The Delivery 2 (Lost in Transit) and while I can’t say much about the whole thing, I would lie if I said I am not moved by him paying respect to Tat’uMandela in this track that is part of the download – I’m still stuck in that.

One day international artists will reach out to some true SA talent to do this thing together. Wouldn’t a remix combining the talent linked here today be something else.

Another year, another book fair.

Read a book

I always liked the Cape Town Book Fair. Not because of what it was, but rather perhaps despite of what it was. As one of my favourite South African writers Ndumiso Ngcobo who we interviewed called it a ‘self-congratulatory exercise’. Pretty spot on. But even if it was exclusive and elitist, and even if in Cape Town the standard of this is so high anyway, I liked some aspects of it enough to go. It was always nice to talk to a few people there and attempt to ignore the rest of the shameful display of all degrees of denial. That of course is pretty standard Cape Town experience of everyday and not limited to any specific events.

And now, yesterday, we went to the local book fair in Helsinki. It was cool – certainly it was massive combined with wine, food and music fairs, but to me it didn’t leave any particularly lasting impression. The experience was a bit like browsing trough hundreds of satellite channels with reruns of nothing to watch. That, of course, also was to a large extend due to the fact that the event was rather exclusively in Finnish and then a bit in Swedish, but English, which for us was something of an importance as my wife doesn’t speak Finnish was nowhere to be heard and not much to be read. Understandable – sure – but not very convenient for us, who admittedly were a small minority. Would’ve been nice to see a little bit more space for people to come together. Sometimes it seems that the integration in Finland starts when the integrated one has learned the language that by no standard is simple one. There’s a massive mistake made, but now I digress.

But how exciting! The e-books are the hot topic it seems!

All I am saying is that no wonder the people have been looking at me all weird when I have been trying to explain these things for the past couple of years.

But I’m not complaining. Well, of course I have been mainly complaining, but it was nice to see the event. In general it was okayish and in specific I have no idea as I didn’t have all that much chance to dwell on its specifics – talks and such. Glad that I went, glad that I’m not there now.

29 October 2010

Like Spotcast, but in Youtube

I have previously done a handful of Spotify playlists to be listened to as a type of an  on demand radio music specialist show. It really is such a nice idea regardless of how popular they actually might be (I don’t know if they are or aren’t), but the problem is that for now, Spotify is a somewhat limited service and most people who can even access internet can’t access it so I wanted to do a Youtube playlist in a similar way. I know that this is an investments to the ones with limited bandwidth who already pay ridiculous prices for the little they have, but nothing ever will be perfect. Let’s make peace with that. Some great tracks with cool videos. Have a listen – and look, of course.

1. MistaChuck (aka Chuck D) - Tear Down That Wall (USA)
2. Lowkey - Terrorist? (UK)
3. Driemanskap - Snakes and Fakes (SA)
4. Klashnekoff - My Life (UK)
5. Passi Featuring Akhenaton - Le Monde Est A Moi (France)
6. Akala - Yours and My Children (UK)
7. Ben Sharpa - Check The Evidence (SA)
8. Looptroop - Long Arm Of the Law (Sweden)
9. Hilltop Hoods - Fifty in Five (Australia)
10. Sway - Nelson Lives (UK – Ghana)

25 October 2010

Wedding photography


Weddings - having seen one is having seen them all. Well, perhaps at least, but probably not much less than, say 95%. They're very similar for some reason, but the people, of course, make them very special. I was asked to take some photos at the wedding of my very good friends this weekend. They had a tram that took the guests from one venue to another. That in itself, already, might just be enough to put this one to that other 5%. I thought that was pretty cool - very Helsinki most of all. 


A few more photos in Flickr.

12 October 2010

Don't 'Africa' Africa.

The shape of Africa is iconic - unlike the shape of her individual countries.

"I'd like to visit Africa one day," an acquaintance once said to me.
"Nice, where in Africa?" I asked.

Maybe that was true - maybe he really wanted to see anything in Africa - a pyramid or a white shark - but it didn't come across like he just hadn't had the time to choose from the multitude of options; rather that it made no difference, and the otherwise insignificant and harmless incident triggred a reaction in me and ever since I've been extremely irritated by these generalistaions. It perhaps is because the ignorance here, to some extent, normalises the colonial and apartheid discourse in the same way as Richrad Dawkins argues the moderate religious talk normalising the extremism.

Regardless of the fact that one of my favourite blogs is “Africa is a Country”, Africa, of course, isn’t a country, but a continent – a vast area with numerous languages, cultures and so on. Obviously. Well, obviously for the one’s to whom it is obvious – not for everyone. And it’s fine because there is always enough ignorance to go around, and we all are rather ignorant when it comes to many things anyway. But perhaps the ignorance that comes to Africa is a bit more designed than, say, people who know little or nothing – or completely misunderstand the off-side rule in football.

I saw this map today where many countries were fitted into the area of Africa. Its purpose, I suppose, was to demonstrate how big Africa really is as an area and fair play, even in the world map on my son’s wall the Greenland is of the same size so the way maps are generally made, makes this a useful exercise. But the mistake remains. Africa is big, but not a country unlike all that it is here compared to with one exception (small map in the side has planted the continent of Europe inside Africa). I am not saying that there is ill intention behind this map – it doesn’t instigate the misconception – it probably is its result. Even the term misconception might be misguiding. Perhaps it is more like  a deliberate overlooking supported by historical and political narratives as understood and of course created by the global north. 

It made me think of the book I have been wanting to read for long, but haven’t yet. It’s called “Don’t Africa Me,” and it might have just been brought up a few notches on my reading list. I am no expert (a minor disclaimer here), but even the African unity – as I understand it by Biko and Nkrumah – isn’t about being uniform, but united. Whether I have understood this broad concept correctly or not, isn't the point anyway, since I am not writing, and I never would, with any mandate from any group, but only as an individual to encourage other indivduals to consider and be circumspect. Maybe I am overtly sensitive, but I witness these things on  a daily basis. Perhaps it is all about the history or is it rather for us non-Africans to feel good about the current geo-politics - maybe it is sincerely our best attempt to understand - but even the most well meaning simplification isn’t helpful – only patronising.

10 October 2010

Autumn colours all over

Autumn 2010

Just wanted to post another photograph from our new quarters. The autumn has coloured the trees with a striking spectrum from bright yellow to burning red with hints of green leftovers of summer, and the lack of rain has kept it all pretty well in tact so the scenery is looking good – to me at least. This is how Nordic autumn feels like.