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My sheep, sail boats on the Niger, dance contests and other photos from Mali

Time to dust off the blog for a brief post. They’ve been rare in 2015. I wish that wasn’t the case. I have a .txt file full of post ideas. I just don’t have the time.


My sheep are nearly a dozen now. They are healthy, and all remain unsold. We may sell a ram later this year for Tabaski (Eid al-Adha). They look good, right?


Getting ready for a balani show (I wrote about balani shows previously here) in Banconi. I was a fixer for the NYTimes a few weeks ago. I had the pleasure of running around town with photographer Michael Zumstein, showing him some aspects of the Bamako digital music scene. You can check out the piece here – he took some great photos.


Another Balani show, this time in Niarela. No computer and no mixing board. This was all live drums and one singer with a mic, which is a bit unusual for Bamako balani shows. One dude roamed around with a spotlight, and this little girl scored a close-up of the action on a tablet. The singer had the silkiest voice for a griot that I’ve ever heard.


Bintou trying out those chopsticks for the first time.


Ablaye aka Bramali (the name of Mali’s only brewery, a nickname earned from Ablaye’s propensity for downing the dregs from all the empty beer bottles waiting to be exchanged for new ones). Ablaye brings me much joy and many headaches.


Way back in February, at the Festival sur le Niger in Segou. We put on a little dance contest. The winner won a whole chicken from the Bamako Barbecue Chicken pop-up restaurant.


Much to my dismay, this little dude won. I was all in on blue-dress-girl. She was robbed!!!!


My first sailboat sighting on the Niger river.


We organized a last minute improvised set of music with Ahmed Ag Kaedi, Sadio Sidibe and Samba Toure in Segou. Sadio is one of those performers that can alter the earth’s tilt on its axis.


What can I say? We had fun in Segou.


Sira, one of the Sleeping Camel mascots, will no longer be spending her days at the hotel. There was one too many near-misses (almost run over by moto, almost steamrolled by the front door etc. etc.). Now we need to find a new glasses model!


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{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Brendan van Son June 10, 2015, 12:36 pm

    Nice to see the update man. I miss you guys. I really need to get back to Mali for a bit I think. Maybe in the spring for a couple weeks!

    • phil June 10, 2015, 3:08 pm

      Hey dude good to hear from you. Would be a fun reunion. Make it happen!! PS I’m about to email you about something unrelated.

  • Bruna June 10, 2015, 2:18 pm

    You banned SIRA from the Camel???? That is not ok Phyllis. I put a hex on your sheep….

    • phil June 10, 2015, 3:09 pm

      a hex like lil b??? Bruna, it had to be done. Would you rather see her decapitated by Bramali on a moto??

  • Kerry Gubits June 11, 2015, 2:27 pm

    Great post. Thanks for the update and photos.

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