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Filed Under (General) by Rob on 30-07-2010

Last week, we had some days in Ségou, about 3 hours’ drive north-east of Bamako.

One of the highlights of the trip was visiting a village where there is lots of pottery. Have a look at the short video below of our visit, showing traditional Africa pottery methods. Enjoy!

Filed Under (Malian culture) by Rob on 09-12-2011

Most of Africa is plagued with slow, smokey, dodgy-looking lorries, crawling up hills and (sometimes) falling off them! However, one positive side is the many artistic designs you see on their backs or mudflaps:

You’ll notice that the top right lorry has a painting of the Tour d’Afrique – for some reason a very common choice here!) Now, as an ethnomusicology consultant and arts worker, I’m always on the lookout for new artistic expressions (like the bogolon cloth or pottery videos already blogged about). So it’s great to see this artwork, which has nothing but a purely aesthetic purpose! Another common sight is proverbs and other sayings on the back of lorries (watch this space…)

Filed Under (Random Photo of the Week) by Rob on 09-02-2011

A field of gourds near Ségou, Mali

The gourd is a very versatile vegetable, not so much for eating, but for making a vast range of bowls, utensils and musical instruments. The body of the kora, for example, is made from half a large gourd. It is also used in the Ségou region when making pottery – you can see a potter in action with clay and a gourd here.

Other links: here’s the French wikipedia entry for ‘calebasse’ (more detailed than the anglophone one), and here’s a nice site showing how they grow and are used in cooking. Finally, this francophone Canadian site shows more examples of how the gourd is used in Africa.

Gourd, bless you!