Joel, Mama and Papisco

When I first came to visit Ziguinchor for this project on June 2005, I met Germain Coly that was at the head of the Cultural Center of the town. He told the artists about my intentions, and the word was spread amongst the artist’s community of Casamance and beyond. In Dakar, Joel Bassene, a musician born in Casamance in a Diola village heard about it, and was bewitched by this project. He left everything in Dakar and came to Ziguinchor to meet me ignoring that I had flown back to Paris France. It has been awkward moments to live for Joel, but after several months, he finally got the money to get back to Dakar. This is where I met him in December 2008; I was very moved by this story, and impressed when he told me that he was ready to come along once again. I told him to wait for the equipment arrival; I guess I’ve found my Sancho Panza…

Joel Bassene's arrival

He finally arrived in Zig 2 weeks ago, exhausted by his trip by bus.

He ‘s quite known in town, he knows all the musicians, and the DJs, and the sound engineers, and the bar owners in the region. I discovered that he is much more than a Sancho Panza to me; his good-looking wife Mama manages the house and the meals. With Joel’s arrival, a new period has started, a period of closeness and companionship.

Joel and Mama

One of the following mornings I woke up braced as tight up as Cupid’s bow. I dreamt of a northern transfigured Saraswati, golden hair and transparent veils floating in the wind, she was strumming the strings of her instrument singing country songs. But my poor right hand, can’t stroke any goddess nor any woman. I caught some kind of pox that makes my forearm looks like a disgusting germinating red potatoe; I got weak and feverish.

potatoe hand

Fortunately, Joel brought a friend of him, called Papisco Sagna. This little guy has a smart smile, he spends his days in his home studio, repairing stuff and doing mixes, and he spends his nights with genies. He comes very often in the red little house, has fixed up a couple of things and prescribed me a vegetal powder and a stinking mixture to heal my forearm. I have no fever any more, and my hand has become less swollen. I really like this young man, I find him fascinating, he has put lucky charms throughout the house.

Papisco Sagna

Day by day we test more and more of the equipment that seems to work so far. The house is losing his empty Zen look, to adopt a new style. We’ll see what it is going to be.

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