Tuesday, 16 February 2016

AFROBEAT.. From Outside

Short stories, Hot Topics and relevant information on Music and the Arts! The official Blog page for Bodederek.com seeking to educate, entertain and inform. We invite aspiring writers to showcase their talent here. Read short stories for free here!

Looking in

"What is Afrobeat?" He looked me in the eye. I looked away for a few seconds to ponder the question. And then I said, " a successful blending of a tight African rhythm, a soul feel, add some poppy influences here and there. Put in heavy jazz inflections on the horns, that should do the trick."

Trying to explain this music genre in a nutshell to a seasoned session musician, a person I knew had worked many years with top bands and performers, can be unnerving. This guy had toured with some of the biggest names in music. I had the feeling he was trying to catch me out. Why else would he be asking for a definition? 

He looked me out the corner of his eye, a few minutes after we discovered the spot we believed to be the most acoustic friendly in the club. The band on the stage played on. The publicity for the event specifically advertised the music as Afrobeat. What we were actually hearing being played was Fuji and not Afrobeat.

"I wish they wouldn't call this Afrobeat." I looked at him as I said this, he nodded. It could have been the lighting in the club, but he looked like he had a smirk on his smug little face. I moved away from him, better to put some distance between him and I, before I put my fist through that face.

Twenty minutes later, I was out of there. I can only take the Fuji sound in small doses anyway. I was irritated because someone had goofed. I felt deceived that either the promoter or the artist had described the music on offer as Afrobeat when it wasn't. It was a fraud, a deception. This kind of thing will water down a genre that happened to be on the up and up.

"Hey, wait up!" I looked back, it was him again. Lucky for him, I was a bit calmer now. "Are you going already?" he asked me. "Yeah," I replied, "that isn't the music I came to hear that's being played in there!" He beamed at me, "thanks for confirming that, I was wondering too. It's why I asked you in the first place what Afrobeat was. You're one person that should know, you were there from it's birth or so I'm told."

He was wrong though, Afrobeat was being played long before I was born. It just wasn't called that then. The truth is, Fela Kuti made it popular and guided it to ascendancy. His thinking that I should know was flawed, I really didn't know. The only thing I was sure about was, if this genre gets further diluted, it'll either be appropriated by other cultures or it'll disappear altogether.

"By the way," I said, "that definition I gave about Afrobeat in there?" I looked him in the eye, "well, it was incomplete, Afrobeat is also a way of life." I gave him a wave of my hand as I turned around and walked away.

...End of Part One


Monday, 1 February 2016

Google isn't The Enemy

Short stories, Hot Topics and relevant information on Music and the Arts! The official Blog page for Bodederek.com seeking to educate, entertain and inform. We invite aspiring writers to showcase their talent here. Read short stories for free here!

Leave Google Alone..

Google recently made a tax settlement with HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) in Britain. 

A figure of £130 million was declared a sweetheart deal by the media, totally disregarding the known fact that the tech company hadn't broken any UK tax laws.

I'm actually surprised that nobody has come out in support of Google in spite of the benefits we all seem to enjoy, utilising a lot of their apps and products daily. Many are free and those that aren't, are usually quite affordable.

Where is all this envy and anger coming from? This company puts a lot of resources at our disposal, empowering, educating and informing at little or no cost to the consumer. Suddenly it's made the poster child for tax avoidance. Absolutely unfair!

The companies that need to be scrutinised are the tobacco company, the banking group, an oil company and a mobile phone brand that paid zero tax in the last financial year.

Another oil company and a major drugs company refused to disclose how much they paid in tax to HMRC. 

Google is one of the most transparent, innovative and forward looking companies in existence today. A unique business model that should be copied rather than denigrated.

They hire the best talent available, developing productivity by investing in their workers and bring to market great products at affordable prices. I salute Google..

Is a company that hires on merit, inspiring it's employees by encouraging and providing resources for their workers to have and to own personal side projects. 

A revolutionary business model that inspires and empowers workers should be lauded.

Here are some facts I found in Laszlo Bock's book - Work Rules (Insights from Google).

1. Google is consistently rated one of the best places to work in the world. Striking a balance between creativity and structure. They strive to build a better company from within rather than from above.

2. A manager at Google cannot unilaterally hire someone, make pay and promotional decisions without input from others.

3. The company creates a work environment of mass empowerment where employees feel and act like owners. 

4. Where possible, Google tries to remove what Laszlo calls, "the signifiers of power and status." There are only four meaningful, visible levels at Google. The Individual Contributor, Manager, Director and Vice President.

5. The technical people remain individual contributors throughout their careers. They are free of course, to chose their own title as long as it isn't self-aggrandising.

We all have to realise that Google as a company, invests in people, technology and resources. They bring great products to the marketplace that people utilise and enjoy. They deserve to make a decent return on their investments. 

There are different categories of Google haters out there, the most dangerous are those who want to preserve the status quo that Google directly and indirectly challenges. Those whose business models, employee relations and ways of working are outdated and as a result, are no longer relevant to consumers.

Those businesses that want to pay the barest minimum and extract an absolute maximum from their employees are the companies I love to hate. 

I like and admire Google without whom my knowledge base would be incomplete. Please Google, don't get distracted, keep doing what you do, there are many out here in the real world that appreciate it all. 

Remember Google, you're a company with a unique motto "Do No Evil." Sooner or later, the devil will come calling. When he does, you have my permission to spit in it's eye!

Museum info from Wednesday at MAD

The Dogon Tribe

And The Ancestors From Space The Dogon people of Mali in West Africa have a Space history, and it's quite a compelling one too. ...