This week we are showing Democracy in Dakar about the role that Hip Hop culture played in the last presidential election in Senegal. Even if you are not a fan of Hip Hop I think you will find this to be a meaty, thought provoking documentary, particularly in the light of the recent US election. Our own ambivalence toward the US system was in full evidence prior to November 4th. There were fears of vote tampering, election rigging, and the campaign itself had many of us tearing our hair over any number of issues-- whether it was smear tactics or the unbelievable fixation of our media on trivialities… or our fears that the media itself was a pawn of darker forces. So it is fascinating to get this insight into what was happening on the ground in Senegal through the eyes of MCs both established (Xuman, DJ Awadi) and on the rise. Perhaps it will stimulate you into researching the track record of the current president there; or maybe get you wondering about the nature of power; how one gets it, and how one keeps it.
This kind of documentary that straddles entertainment and issues, is typical of Link TV. I hope you'll take a moment to make a pledge while our Music and Culture mini pledge is still running, and show that you understand and support this very important and unusual programming.
A few years ago I was invited to attend a musical awards ceremony for the World Culture Open. It was held at Avery Fischer Hall in Lincoln Center, but what drew me there was the roster of artists that were to perform. I already knew some of them, like Misia the fado singer from Portugal, the Rustavi Choir from Georgia, and of course, Youssou N'Dour, from Senegal. But I found myself stunned by other artists I was not as familiar with. The oud duet of Yair Dalal from Israel and Nasser Musa from Palestine was riveting. Omar Farouk Tekbilek from Turkey was ecstatic, singing Sufi poetry; so much so that the elderly Jewish couple sitting next to me said "Oh, our cantor would LOVE this!" But what probably blew me away the most was the opening performance - a troupe of Korean women who played an array of drums in perfect unison. Gorgeously attired, they did not seem to even break a sweat as they executed complex rhythms and demanding choreography. You can imagine my excitement when I learned that the entire concert had been videotaped and was available for Link TV. And it's playing this week. Check it out!