Is It Too Late? Happy New Year + Blog’s Numbers + Ivory Coast Music

There, I said it in the title. And I mean it, may this year be the happiest and have the most enjoyable shape we can sculpt it into. May the brush of diversity keep adding its meaningful hues to our cultural landscape.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 03.21.23I often get asked about this blog’s numbers, mostly by publicists, and sometimes by other bloggers or writers; so this is for you. WordPress kindly gifted me with a yearly review of Multiculturalism Rocks! activities. As humbling as it is, I’m more than happy to share the information with you.

1- Number of posts in 2015: As some of you know I’m slowly coming off a very long hiatus, due mainly to deaths in my family, and once again I apologize for not observing the blog etiquette that would have had me write a blog post about my subsequent silence and disappearance, early on. Back to 2015, I posted six times (only) last year.

2- Visitors: A modest 6,000. The most popular post in 2015 was We’re the People: Summer Reading 2015, which to date has had 965 readers.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 03.21.463- Number of countries: 99, with the top 3 being the USA, Canada and the UK. Then there is Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil; France, Germany, Russia, India, Nigeria, Cameroon (my country of origin), South Africa, Australia, China…just to quote a few.

4- Additional info on who is reading: since the birth of the blog, this bit of information always surprised me. There are tools that let you know the IP address of your readers, such as mywebstats.org, sitemeter.com, freestats.com. In this blog’s case, the top IP addresses mostly link to public schools, public libraries, colleges and universities – all this in and outside of the USA, and surprisingly a few major American publishers (thank you guys!).

5- Top referrers: Facebook and Twitter mainly, then a few blogs where my name has been mentioned – heartfelt “thank you,” fellow bloggers.

That about sums it up.

I’m just back from a trip in my home country, and while there I delightfully bathed in the ethnic and culturally diverse rhythms that got the country dancing. If you’re ready to stretch your musical taste bud, discover Shado Chris, a singer, music arranger and promoter from Ivory Coast.

Ivory Coast - Reading Women Writers and African Literature Website
Ivory Coast – Reading Women Writers and African Literature Website

A little background and rough explanation of the song, “J’S8 Jahin Prêt”: most of the songs and rhythms originating from an African country highlight a rhythm coming from a specific tribe (please remember that when you listen to an African song, including Shakira’s popular World Cup Anthem). I reached out to the band to get the name of the rhythm displayed in this upcoming song, and I will update the post if I’m lucky enough to get an answer. The title of the song, “J’S8 Jahin Prêt,” is a West African French slang for “I’m ready” (literal translation), which could also be understood as “Bring It On.”

In the first verse the singer shares about the struggle of pursuing a dream and achieving a goal, and adresses the people who attempted to dismiss him (“Music (being an artist) is not for you, give up already”), mocked him and even compared him to a snail, and who now would like to take his place. But he gave it his all and made it. Cue to the refrain: “Bring it on.” In the second verse Shado Chris talks to the ex-girlfriend who dumped him when he was going through one of the toughest times of his life: “I went all the way (for you), now that I’m where I am you want to come back…cue to the refrain.

Thanks for welcoming Ivory Coast into your screen. Enjoy, and “talk” to you soon.

 

 

 

 

Foreign Books Worth Knowing: THE DARK CHILD, by Camara Laye

Today’s book is a classic, a required reading within and beyond Africa’s borders, in high school and college. Here’s the fact sheet:

Laye, Camara. The Dark Child: The Autobiography of an African Boy. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1954. Print.

Genre: Non-fiction: autobiography

Issue/Topic: Africa, coming of age, colonialism, post-colonialism, education

Summary: The Dark Child , published in 1954 and initially set in 1930s, shatters the image of Africans as “uncivilized” as often portrayed in literary works of the same era by writers. We are given an account of Camara Laye, muslim, of the Malinke tribe, as he grows up in his village still little affected by the French colonization. At 15 Laye (his given name) moves to Conakry, the Capital of French Guinea, and later to France to continue his education.

Application: The Dark Child poignantly illustrates the effects and struggles of navigating between two cultures from a child’s perspective. The story remains contemporary because it gives an insight into the lives of not only Africans, but any individual whose journey started in the countryside with his family, moved away to go to school and ultimately traveled abroad to get a college education. I have friends from Asia and South America who are familiar with the issue of adapting to a foreign culture. Obviously, the Dark Child also offers a platform to discuss the effects of colonialism, and helps understand today’s post-colonial Africa.

I highly recommend the book, especially as a companion to Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God and Things Fall Apart.

Note: The original text is in French. The Dark Child was translated in English by James Kirkup and Ernest Jones, and as you read above, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Age: 15 & up

About the Author: Camara Laye was born in January 1st, 1928 in Kouroussa, Guinea, in West Africa. He studied engineering in Conakry and France, and later worked for the Guinean government upon his return to Africa. Camara (family name) is the author the Radiance of the King (1956), as well as The Guardian of the Word (1980). He died in February 4, 1980, in Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

Additional note: I like the cover of the French edition better, so I’m including it in this post. 🙂 Merry Wednesday, Nathalie