June 30, 2010

Armut Cacık

for Deniz :) 

Armut Cacık 

you need:

yoghurt (the cheap one will do, if you can't get the Turkish one)
fresh mint 
and sugar...

You peel and grate the pear, chop the mint leaves fine, but keep the little ones on top for decoration, add yoghurt and sugar to taste, mix it and ready...

keep in the fridge till we come :)

You can do it with apples too (here you can try some cinnamon, but you don't have to) and of course it will be Elma Cacık  :)

June 29, 2010

Ataa Oko and the Spirits

As the Ga believe in reincarnation within the family, they do not
regard death as the final end. As ancestors, the dead are
much more powerful than the living and within the family can
exert a significant influence for good or for evil. This is why
families make great efforts to insure that a departed family
member remains in a good mood. Social status is largely
dependent on the size and success of the funeral ceremony as
well as on an exclusive coffin. The figure-shaped coffins, only
seen on the day of the burial, are often symbolic of the
profession of the late departed and are supposed to help him
or her to take up their earthly career again in the hereafter.
This is why fishermen are often buried in a canoe or fish coffin,
farmers in vegetable coffins and a businessman in a
prestigious Mercedes Benz coffin. Some of the motifs reflected
in the shapes of the coffins, for instance, the Ga stool or
traditional chief’s sandal, are royal or priestly insignias with a
magical and religious function. Only those with corresponding
status may be buried in such coffins. Various animals such as
lions, cocks and crabs are clan totems. In this case too, only
chiefs from the corresponding families may use coffins with
these shapes. And finally, many coffins indicate a proverb,
which is why the Ga call the figure-shaped coffins Proverbial.
Ataa Oko, born around 1919 is regarded as the
inventor of the figure-shaped coffin, .
The coloured drawings by Ataa Okodone in recent years
are based on memories of coffins that he made in earlier times.
At the age of 83, Ataa Oko has suddenly thrown himself into art. 
From his crippled hand he creates a world combining his dreams
and visions with elements from the Ga culture.
With the use of colouring pencils, he starts by drawing memories of coffins 
that he actually used to make as a craftsman. Then, little by little,
he frees himself from his memories to make way for a profusion of new,
vibrantly coloured iconic designs.

Ataa Oko and the spirits English subtitled from Andres Alvarez on Vimeo.


June 28, 2010

Leon Thomas-Spirits Known & Unknown

more master plans and talking(yodeling) with the spirits

Leon Thomas



June 27, 2010


...what about Gershwin... c'mon let's listen to this again...
Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Summertime 


The Creator Has a Master Plan

by Pharoah Sanders and Leon Thomas

creation has a master plan,
peace and happiness for every man.
creation has a working plan,
peace and happiness for every man.
creation makes but one demand,
happiness through all the land.
shall I drop some words here? I don't know. Yes I changed the lyrics a bit, it's just words...Can't believe that this was one of my first LP's good American pressing... Yes there is music and there is music... This one is almost perfect... And creation is there all the time with us, we're part of it, can touch it, smell it, see it, feel it, hear it, understand it, at least try to, observing  the simple rules that rule the universe, yes it gets fucking difficult in the details, then step back, calm down, listen... if it feels right, it must be right and if it feels wrong, it must be wrong and it is not me who said that, it is nature talking... What the hell is religion doing here... what are they preaching... Let's listen to some real music again :)

June 25, 2010

What we eat?


Djanbutu Thiossane - Fass
Senegalese trio of singers Ass, Mass and Pap N'Diaye
Qu'est-ce qu'on mange? is a call-and-response song celebrating food on the road.


June 24, 2010

Kabir By Abida

Abida Parveen

Gulzar presents:
Kabir By Abida

01. Mann Lago Yaar
02. Souun To Sapne Milun
03. Saahib Mera Ek Hai
04. Bhala Hua Meri Matki

Harmonium: Pradeep Pandit
Tabla 1: Nazir khan
Tabla 2: Ravindra Rajbhat
Tabla 3: Rajesh Rajbhat
Bass Guitar: Dominic Fernandes
Flute: Rakesh Chaurasia
Santoor: Ulhas Bapat
Mandola: Nasir Ahmad
Dholak: Karam Hussain
Keyboard: Sanjay Jaipurwale
Sarangi: Dilshad Khan
Percussions: Rajesh Rajbhat, Deepak Borkar         
" They say one should not have one ’nasha’(intoxicant) over another. Here, you have Kabir, the ultimate philosopher, poet whose timeless verses have been given voice by the reining queen of sufi music, Abida Parween.

One nasha over another.

Well this is the way Gulzar in his inimitable style , has introduced this gem of an album.
You will find millions who may be able to recite dohas of kabir, but very few who can understand the deep philosophy underneath them. No other poet has sung such simple verse with such deep meaning.

For instance the doha "Bura jo dekhana mei chala,bura na milaya koi; jo mann khoja apna to mujhse bura na koi" I have been searching for that "bad one" but I couldnot find him anywhere. Finally when I turned to myself I found there is nobody worse than me. Instead of finding fault with others, look within yourself and you will realise that the solution to all your problems lies within yourself.

Again, "Bada huoto kyua hua,jaise ped khajur panthi ko chaya nahin phal lage atidoor" what good is your so called eminence if you are neither compassionate nor helpful to others? Entire nature teaches you ’giving .’The river doesnt hold on to its water, the tree doesnt hold on to its fruits, the cloud doesn't hold on to the rain. The joy of sharing and giving is much more than that of gathering and collecting for yourself.

This is a collection of priceless gems of Kabir. There is nothing ordinary or mediocre here.

Abida is the most celebrated singer of the Sufi genre of music. She never fails to take her listeners to a musical trance. Her other albums like "Raqs-e-Bismil" have become popular with lovers of serious music.

I believe Abida is one of those rare singers who was personally chosen by the almighty to spread the message of universal love everywhere. When she sings she is in direct communion with god. This rendition of Kabir by Abida paints a musical picture of surreal beauty out of the timeless poetry of Kabir. The sound recording and technical quality of this album by Times music is excellent.

~  ashok606 "

one for the age old discussion, is it the muisc or is it the words, it should be both, I wish the music would have matched the poems, some more passion ... .)

June 23, 2010

Looking for Kabir ?

There's a moon in my body

There's a moon in my body, but I can't see it!
A moon and a sun.
A drum never touched by hands, beating, and I can't hear it!

As long as a human being worries about when he will die,
and what he has that is his,
all of his works are zero.
When affection for the I-creature and what it owns is dead,
then the work of the Teacher is over.

The purpose of labor is to learn;
when you know it, the labor is over.
The apple blossom exists to create fruit; when that
comes, the petal falls.

The musk is inside the deer, but the deer does not
look for it:
it wanders around looking for grass.

Within this Earthen Vessel

Within this earthen vessel are bowers and groves,
     and within it is the Creator:
Within this vessel are the seven oceans
      and the unnumbered stars.
The touchstone and the jewel-appraiser are within;
      and within this vessel the Eternal soundeth,
      and the spring wells up.
Kabîr says:
         "Listen to me, my Friend!
         My beloved Lord is within."

I said to this wanting creature inside me

I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is this river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or nesting?

There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no tow rope either, and no one to pull it.
There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford!

And there is no body, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the
soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing.

Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don't go off somewhere else!

Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of
imaginary things,
and stand firm in that which you are.



June 22, 2010

We are here

Dear Qi, so true what you are saying... One of the few deep emotional encounters I had with art in the last years was when I stumbled by chance into an exhibition by RongRong & inri... I didn't know them, hadn't even heard their names before,... the moment I entered the pictures took me.. they were talking to my, telling me their story, my story... opened my heart, my soul, my brain... this was art, but it was life too, these were photos, but had many more dimensions... till the end of the exhibition I went there almost every day... it was like going to the temple... meditation... giving me soo much... I will add a few pictures from the net (of the ones I've seen)... but they give only a pale idea... you have to see them for real and together as they were planned... and I love the architecture of the Three Shadows Photography Art Center... so if you're in Beijing please say thank you in my name... 


RongRong began photographing Beijing’s “East Village” in 1992, capturing the lives of China’s young avant-garde artists who were living there. Inri trained as a freelance photographer in Japan, graduating from the Nippon Photography Institute in 1992. They have been working together since 2000. Their works are poetic meditations on the visual narrative from death and ruins to rebirth and transcendence. They now live and work in Beijing, where they recently established the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in 2007, China’s first art space dedicated to contemporary photography and video art.




June 21, 2010

Mother Earth Looks Into Future

This is what my love paints.

She has a childlike spirit.

That is why spirits love her.

Me too.
Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice...

Cheesecake anyone?

Actually not so much "cheesecake" but rather a celebration of feminine beauty through the works of a number of celebrated 20th century Chinese painters. This is the second of two volumes exploring the portrayal of female subjects in classical Chinese painting. Many of the subjects are on classical themes, but there are a few the show the influence of the "Shanghai Flower" calendar girl.

Thankfully, the book's text includes a competent English translation. If there is interest in other artful ventures (and Art IS Spirit and Spice in my life!) I will be happy to post more in the future.

Let me say this in my first post, so there is no misunderstanding: I AM a Sinophile. It is an amazing culture and a thrilling society - even today during their hyper-capitalist indulgence - as they dance with "Socialism with Chinese characteristics". While it is true, much (read ALL...) of the traditional arts are under siege by the marketplace - which has been far more lethal than the Cultural Revolution ever aspired - it is astonishing, and heartbreaking how much real beauty remains. Go into any reasonably well-inventoried bookstore in a large city in China, and when you reach the "Art Book" section (which is frequently a room independant of the rest of the store), you will see wall after wall, bookshelf after bookshelf of hundreds upon HUNDREDS of beautifully printed tomes depicting the oeuvre of hundreds of artists whom we in the west have NO knowledge of! I will not even mention the over-heated market for contemporary Chinese artists...

All that being said, beauty and its apprehension and appreciation are food for MY spirit. I hope my humble offerings can find a place on your plates as well!

Blesings to all!



June 20, 2010

Fiddlin with edible ferns spring to mind ...

Read more about how to put some ferns from the "fern osten" to use...

Two different perspectives of "eating"

Kogomi コゴミ


There will be more posts from me in the fall as I really am the "fall guy".
I will be recording crickets all summer so posting any music will have to wait until I get back after that...

June 19, 2010


Le world ... 
Cool les îles



1. René Lacaille (La Réunion) - Domin ki koné
2. Les grands ballets de Tahiti (Tahiti) - A hi'o mai
3. Zna Zak (Ile Maurice) - Angela
4. Simentera (Cap Vert) - Nhâ Codé
5. Compay Segundo con Los Compadres (Cuba) - El Penquito ecolito
6. Ka-O-Ka (Guadeloupe) - Rozana
7. Kan'nida (Guadeloupe) - Zabriko
8. Féo-Gasy(Madagascar) - Ramono be galona
9. Regis Gizavo (Madegascar) & J.F. Bernardini (Corse/I Muvrini) - Kemba
10. Jacky Micaelli (Corse) - A moresca
11. D'Gary (Madagascar) - Resaka marandray
12. Salim Ali amir (Les Comores) - Shiyengo
13. Tamm Ha Tamm (La Réunion) - Route des Indes
14. René Lacaille (La Réunion) & Bob Brozman (USA) - Zok



Islands are just mountain tops looking out of the water... :)

June 18, 2010

Love is a wall

Love is a wall

which will stop war

they will not perish in discord

the ones who love consciously

Juma Bhalo 1956

Saluting  Spirits & Spices........

Spice trade

The economically important Silk Road (red) and spice trade routes (blue) blocked by the Ottoman Empire ca. 1453 with the fall of the Byzantine Empire, spurring exploration motivated initially by the finding of a sea route around Africa and triggering the Age of Discovery.



Kidumbak is a music style, which is closely related to  Taarab. Contemporary Kidumbak often makes use of the latest taarab hit song. Many youngsters hone their musical skills in kidumbak groups before being admitted into a taarab musical club. Kidumbak is therefore sometimes called kitaarab, 'a diminuitive kind of taarab'. Against this view of taarab as the great tradition, musicians like Makame Faki hold tha the most celebrated model for swahili taarab in earlier decades of this century , the group of  Siti bint Saad, was not much different even from today's  Kidumbaki.

"In the times of Siti bint Saad, the musicians used to squat on the floor, their instruments were two small drums, a tambourine, violin and oud.The audience danced. Thus, this old-time taarab is much more similar to todays Kidumbak than Taarab with its big orchestras and the aloof character of taarab reception."

Even further back in history, photographs and oral traditions from around the turn of the century lead us to earlier Swahili musical forms which feature just two small maruwasi drums and the gambusi stringed lute, a precursor to today's oud.Others therefore consider a kidumbak type of music to be at the roots of taarab, rather than the other way round!

The kidumbak ensemble consists of a single melodic instrument, customarily a violin (played in frantic fiddle-style), a sanduku, or tea-chest-bass, two small clay drums (ki-dumbak), which form the rhythmic core of every such ensemble and other rhythm instruments, such as cherewa, a kind of maracas manufactured from coconut shells filled with seeds or mkwasa, short wooden sticks, played like claves. In contrast to taarab, kidumbak is much more rhythmic and the lyrics more drastic than the poeticsettings of the taarab songs, often criticizing other peoples social behavior. At wedding performances the singer has to be able to string together a well-timed medley of ngoma songs, and she or he has the ability to compose lyrics on the spot. At a Zanzibar wedding, one kidumbak set usually lasts for an hour and as one song joins the next, the intensity heats up, with the main attraction being the interplay between the players and the dancing and chorus response by the wedding guests...



See Nutmeg being grown and harvested in the Spice plantations of Kerala, on Kerala tours, with Kerala Backwater. When you tour the spice plantations of Kerala you might be reminded of a popular children's nursery rhyme which has the following lines: "I had a little nut tree/ Nothing would it bear/ But a Silver Nutmeg / And a Golden Pear / The King of Spain's daughter / Came to visit me/ and all for the sake / Of my little nut tree!" The poem refers to the historical importance of Nutmeg, which was an important commercial crop in the 19th century. European trading companies including the Dutch, English and French, fought over Nutmeg seeds and manipulated supplies to ensure a shortage of Nutmeg and tried to keep prices elevated in European markets. Nutmeg is used as a flavoring agent in various culinary dishes, including cakes and puddings. When you travel to Kerala you can see Nutmeg grow in abundance in the spice plantations of Kerala with Kerala Backwater.

Nutmeg plants:

The botanical name of the Nutmeg tree is Myristica fragrans. The Nutmeg tree is a tropical evergreen tree, which was originally only found in the Spice Islands of Indonesia. Introduced to India by colonial traders, Nutmeg now grows abundantly in the spice plantations of Kerala. The Nutmeg tree can grow up to 20 meters. The Nutmeg fruit looks similar to an Apricot. When the fruit is ripe, it splits revealing a crimson seed cover and a brown seed. The seed cover is harvested and dried as the spice called Mace. The seed is gathered as Nutmeg. Its shell is broken and the Nutmeg kernels, which are grayish-brown, oval-shaped seeds, with rough surfaces, are collected. Nutmeg is powered and used to add flavor to many dishes and is also used in the perfume industry. Nutmeg also has medicinal properties and is used in the form of oil to treat rheumatism.