One night in October 2013, I was having a quiet night at work. So quiet, in fact, that I unwrapped the little packet of Love Hearts that were left in my car (along with a lollipop) by a customer who happened to be a recently released armed robber.
Nom nom nom. My kind of tip.
(Other tips that I have been gifted include a packet of truly delicious bacon; a CD of a local group, donated by said local group; a CD of a young female rapper, donated by herself; a Magnum (as in the ice cream, not the weapon), and a truly splendid Christmas jumper, donated by one of Gary Newman’s road crew!)
I recently met the man who composed and sings this song, when he jumped in the back of my taxi, with a battered guitar. He was on his way to play a local gig. He told me about this video, and I looked it up on YouTube. Intriguing video, beautiful voice, and lovely melody.
I loved it, and told him so when I picked him up again. He was touched, and asked if he could play it for me. Then and there, in the back of my taxi. Just him and that battered guitar.
It was one of the most unexpected, and one of the most astoundingly beautiful musical experiences of my life. The emotion in his voice brought tears to my eyes, and stillness to my soul. Incredible.
One night, I was listening to one of my favourite CDs by Seckou Keita. For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure, Seckou Keita is an award-winning Senegalese virtuoso of the kora and djembe. (And if you haven’t yet had the pleasure, look up his music online!) I play these wonderful world music CDs for two specific types of passenger: the cultured, and the highly intoxicated / potentially volatile.
The former have generally enjoyed an evening of refined revelry, and the beauty of the music enchants their appreciative ears. A rich and stimulating discussion typically ensues, or we just savour the magic in companionable silence. As for the latter, well, the music is simply perfect for pacifying drunks. Many a belligerent sot has been melodically soothed into a blissful stupor, allowing the rising tension in the taxi to dissipate, and, at the conclusion of the journey, they simply pay and melt out of the car, all antagonism forgotten.
I digress. I was listening to one of Seckou’s CDs named “Mali”, while discussing the delights of Indian food with an inebriated (but agreeable) passenger. The passenger slurred, “I see you’re into Indian music, too”. I was bemused until he pointed at the CD player screen, which listed the track “Baiyo”. He was so pissed, he thought it said “Bhaji”.