Sunday, April 03, 2005


My weekend began on Friday with a comfortingly wholesome dinner of black bean and smoked chorizo stew with rice served in a heavy earthenware bowl, washed down with a sweet and tart freshly-squeezed passionfruit juice at Canela, a fabulous and tiny Brazilian-Portuguese cafe tucked behind the Seven Dials of Covent Garden.

Then we strolled in the evening warmth across Hungerford Bridge to the Royal Festival Hall to experience the northern Senegalise singer Baaba Maal in concert with his band of -- it seemed -- one hundred. The spectacle was exhilerating: from Maal's spiraling and twisting wail, the dancers' flailing limbs and multiple colourful costume changes; to the spontaneous breakdancing, manic drumming and screeching saxophones. All performed to a projected backdrop of the art of the Africa Remix exhibition.

Saturday was another sunny day, so a return to Covent Garden was due and my first ever wander around the London Transport Museum, before a simple sushi lunch -- mackeral, salmon, prawn and octopus -- at the small and spartan Kulu Kulu. My craving for some American candy brought us to the very cute Cybercandy store, crammed wall-to-wall with candy from the US and Japan, where we bought jelly beans (garlic was the featured flavour but we weren't brave enough to try, let alone buy), vanilla cream soda, Reese's Pieces (peanut butter chocolate smarties) and Red Hots (cinnamon flavoured hard candy). We window-shopped our way down Floral Street to the Photographer's Gallery, where we scoffed chocolate and carrot cakes with tea at the cafe's wooden benches and tables, and caught up with the Saturday papers.

Still invigorated from our Baaba Maal experience, we returned to the Africa Remix exhibition today at the Hayward as it's the last week, before ending the day by watching the very excellent Maria Full of Grace -- a movie about Colombian drug mules. But more of that tomorrow.

Related links:

+ "A musician in Africa should be someone who educates. You can educate people and tell them their history and share information with people with your songs. When anything happens, people want to know your reaction, your advice, and what they should do. And not just to do with culture. It can be anything, from politics to religion." Baaba Maal speaks to The Guardian.

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