Toumani & Sidiki

I’m enjoying the album of traditional Malian kora music from father and son kora maestros Toumani & Sidiki. Recorded in London in 2014, it’s only the third album of kora duets ever made. The father is a long standing Malian kora player, while the son is a hip hop artist in his own right, and his stuff sounds very different to this (check out Iba One and Sidiki for more). When I graduated from SOAS, the gaps between different degrees being awarded were filled with people playing different instruments from around the world. The gap before my degree award was filled with a kora player, which was the first time I’d heard the cheerful and intricate sounds made by this instrument, when in the hands of an expert.

It’s out now on World Circuit records, here

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Eid al-Adha in Peshawar, Pakistan

It is the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha this week, which marks Abraham/Ibrahim’s intention to slaughter his first born son Ishmael as a sacrifice to God, before God decided that this rather defeated the point of having given Abraham a son in the first place, and provided a lamb to be slaughtered instead.

I was in Peshawar, Pakistan for Eid Al-Adha in May 1993. During the afternoon before the festival there was an atmosphere of anticipation in the air. Herds of sheep and goats were led through the streets of Peshawar during the afternoon, which was not an ordinary day to day occurrence. As we walked around the city the following day, the most immediately noticeable evidence that something significant had happened over the previous few hours were the huge piles of guts and entrails stacked up on the street corners, each one a metre or so high, and several metres across. Here a mound of intestines, there a pile of kidneys, all oozing liquid and lunge onto the muddy streets in the morning sunshine.

I didn’t take a picture of this at the time, as it didn’t seem too out of place. However here is a photo I did take, of a fairly average northern Pakistani butcher’s shop at that time. Mutton and goats’ heads are on display, with the chopping happening behind the front display.

Mutton and goats' heads on display for passing customers in Peshawar, Pakistan

Mutton and goats’ heads on display for passing customers in Peshawar, Pakistan

More of my photos from Pakistan taken at this time are on my Flickr page here.

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