And I stopped singing the homesick blues…

I had been feeling blue after spending an afternoon eating leftovers from the fridge and gazing gloomily at photographs of family.

Just after 7 pm our housemate Eric shouted from outside that our friends had arrived. I had forgotten. My singing students/singing teachers had turned up fully prepared to work on our pieces and I, consumed by my mood, had completely forgotten about our song swapping date.

Before I had time to worry about my lack of preparation the three of us found ourselves stood up, finger clicking to the James Brown classic ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)‘ (an ironic choice on my part, I know). And so, as Abdoulaye’s scatty imaginary trumpet blasted out funky sounds in front of me, I began to forget my bad mood, and instead have a bit of a dance.

Souleymane and Coroba

My homesickness drifted away from our house, the clouds of my mood cleared and when it was my turn to work on my Bambara songs I realised I had been a little shortsighted.

Abdoulaye and Souleymane practise the Bambara song, Nyelemba, with Mikaela

Abdoulaye and Souleymane, with patience and warmth worked slowly through the lyrics of the day’s song, explaining the meaning of each word carefully.

This is a song about someone who is leaving their loved ones to travel“.

And the first line,

Kana kashi nemado kabi keita, kanga tdo tdalakele fe…

When I leave, do not weep. Because when I walk away you will still be with me.

“Is this song traditional?” I asked.

“No. I wrote this song. But it’s your song now, you can have it”.


8 responses to “And I stopped singing the homesick blues…

  1. Grim and Grumps

    You made me cry, and as you know it takes a lot to do that, but have been sitting listening and reading your post and am finding it very hard, Now l am being silly, have fully accepted the increasingly wonderful benefits you have received from cycling to where you are, Again lots of love from us both( to all you and your freinds and family) Must admit to having trouble typing with two fingers tied together, you should try this sometime it is is quite strange. XXXXXXX

  2. this is beautiful mikaela; i’ve loved your sound clips if possible even more than your writing, and i love your writing a lot…
    warmest greetings from beneath the grey skies of russell square, beth xxx

  3. Made me cry too! 🙂

  4. Anke van Lenteren

    I picked up an unread copy of Songlines this afternoon and stumbled across the article about your music/cycling trip – I have just spent some very happy hours reading your blog from the very beginning to the last post. What an amazing journey and how brilliant that you are also posting music clips. I have tickets for Bassekou Kouyate’s performance here in Stockholm tonight … but can see I really need to go to Africa to get the full flavour! Thanks for brightening up my day.

    • Thank you so much for your supportive comment, very happy to hear you have enjoyed reading the blog and listening to our sound clips. We hope that this will just be the first of ‘music cycles’ projects, who knows where we will head next, but we have to go back to London for a while first… on the bright side some time in our beloved capital will give us a chance to mix the album we have been recording here with Malian and Senegalese musicians, exciting stuff awaits us!
      Take care,
      Mikaela and Imran

  5. Brilliant! x

  6. i continue to be amazed by the beauty of this- to read your words, see your stories and hear the fruits of your labour (that at times sounds enchantingly like play) all at once.. magic.
    having gone far from home (although not nearly as far as you!) the occasional refuge in music has become so precious; it’s brightened my day to hear yours.
    much love from damascus xxx

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