Then just check out Shea Hembrey‘s TED talk. Playing make believe at its best.
The orange light bounces off the harmonium cover as it falls to the ground next to the instrument. Dalia pulls up a stool next to Shaheen, who now sits cross legged in front of the harmonium on the ground. They exchange a few words in Bangla, interspersing laughs with lyrics and remembrances, recalling song titles with memories from days of 1971 along the Indian border.
These two women, Dalia Nausheen and Shaheen Samad, both were part of the singing troupe who traveled around to Freedom Fighter and refugee camps in India, singing songs of freedom, or muktir gaan, for the women and men training for the war, providing medical and logistical support, and sheltering themselves and their families.
I recently spoke to them both about their experiences serving in the musical troupe, and at the end of the conversation they offered to sing a few songs that they carried with them during those nine months of war. Above, you find a short clip of one of the songs, Janater Sangram Cholbe Cholbe, by Sikander Abu Zafar. They were as articulate as their voices are stunning – as soon as I have some of the transcript transcribed, I’ll be sure to share some of the conversation here. For now, a little portrait of Dalia from before the song session.
So this one time, I fainted after interviewing a woman who shot down an American fighter pilot in the Vietnam War and woke to find her rubbing mentol into my temples. And as it turns out, there’s a video of it! By our wonderful translator, Chau, who’s giving the play by play in the clip.
Taken this past summer while working on the Woman Warriors project in Hue, Vietnam. And here’s the portrait of the lovely Vietnamese grandmother who’s fanning me (and who later gave me some wonderful homemade lemonade to help me feel well enough to make her portraits).
Above is a stupendous video made by some superlative people in sunny California and sent all the way to the mosquito-ridden streets of Bangladesh. It was no straightforward journey, involving the shipment of a package that went all the way from San Diego to Dhaka and back, its reshipment through a different and more circuitous route, and finally a rickshaw ride from Banani through Gulshan and (finally!) to our Baridhara doorstep.
So, 30,000 miles and much anticipation later, I present to you one of the best videos ever made.
(A mammoth THANK YOU to Miss Rosemarie Wagner and Mr. Ezra Furman. You should have seen the accompanying card and crown. Pure genius.)
After having no internet for a few days, it’s back up (for now!), and that means there’s finally time to share these two videos that have been on line for a while now!
The first, I don’t know quite how to describe other than to say it was one of the most surreal things I’ve ever witnessed, ever. Captured at Wonderland – Dhaka’s local amusement park – this was the penultimate ride of the day, on a trip taken to celebrate a trio of October 12 birthdays. In case it isn’t clear in the video, yes, that is Bengali man dancing in a giant mouse mascot costume. And yes, that is an imam as the only other passenger on the ride. We’re still searching for the words to describe it.
The second is my flatmate’s new kitten, a very loud and very sleepy little guy.
A new video is exporting as I type, so stay tuned for part three!
This past week was Durga Puja, and a few of us went and checked out the festivities at various times over the weekend (pictures forthcoming).
On Saturday night, we were waiting for a ride from Old Dhaka after the celebrations, talking with one gentleman who had been walking with us and acting a pseudo-guide for a while. We were standing in a small circle chatting when we noticed a person or two come up behind us. Five minutes later, this is what the area immediately surrounding our circle looked like. It felt a bit funny making a video, but it was just too silly and absurd not to document. I guess we stuck out a little?
Quick little video of my first views of Bangladesh, sped up a bit and soundtracked for your viewing pleasure!