So something you need to know about me, if you're reading this blog, is that I'm a huge music nerd. I've written about this before, on my other blog. I find a band or artist I like, then find out about other similar artists, then spend a lot of time listening to music, searching for more, reading about it, etc.
My fascination with African pop music is a great example of this. I've been listening, this afternoon, to a collection of Franco's Congolese rhumba tunes which I got from the local library (I had it on hold for a couple of months--it's way more popular than you'd imagine). And how, you might ask, did a suburban American Jewish guy in his early 30s wind up with a two CD set of a fairly obscure singer from the Congo?
Simple: Paul Simon. I grew up on Simon & Garfunkel, and when I was in 4th grade, my uncle Jesse, who worked for Time Warner, gave me a tape of Graceland, which immediately became my favorite music ever. I wore out the tape a few years ago and replaced it with a CD, and I still listen to it a lot. Something about the South African rhythms stuck with me, and now I find myself loving Afropop and Afrobeat. My iTunes library has four or five albums by Oliver Mtukudzi,
a lot of Fela Kuti,
some Cheikh Lo,
and now Franco.
And, of course, my Tinariwen tickets came in today's mail. VERY excited.
So what do I do while I'm listening to all this music? Well, I'm rereading Frankenstein for my grad class. I read it in high school (sophomore or junior year) and remember loving it, and the reread isn't disappointing so far. There's something really mysterious about Mary Shelley's language that I absolutely love. More on it later, probably, but I need to get back to reading (dinnertime's over--yep, I post while I eat, which is kind of gross, but whatever, I don't have a table anymore) so I can spend a little quality time with a Very Important Person.