Political Events

Writing from the Amsterdam Airport on the way home:

Apparently President Mouseveni blocked consideration of a horrible anti-gay bill Wed that may have come to a vote that day. It apparently does not have widespread support but is being pushed by one or a couple of supporters. In some of it’s versions it has specified killing of gays, and imprisoning anyone supportive of gay rights. I thought this had died down before I came but recently things were stirred up again.

Packing was complicated due to all the stuff I got, and figuring out how to get the long drum home! Finally we left around 2pm for the Zoo and airport in Entebbe. The right there was hair-raising for me at least, not for Larry. There were probably thousands of police of all types by the road, and several times traffic was stopped due to this being the day of President’s Inauguration. Considering the recent political situation I was a little concerned, and then to see roundabouts with hundreds of police there, some of their vehicles with flashing lights, and all was a little scary. Nothing was really happening however except celebrations for the most part. At one point the car in front of us hit the car in front of it, not to seriously. I did see police hitting some guy and heard a gunshot at one point but it was probably directed into the air, to let police know that some of the 19? presidents who’d come for the inauguration

were passing through. We pulled over to let them by.

The traffic thickened and it seemed something else was going on, with a police checkpoint and lots more security. There was a man standing and waving, and Larry recognized him as Besigye, the opposition leader returning from Nairobi where he got medical treatment after having

been tear-gassed and injured in one of the riots. People were waving and cheering him on. Why did I forget I had

a camera in my hand?! I was in shock.

Around this point not only did I see trucks of policemen, in kakhi, blue uniforms and also lots of the red -bereted military policeman, and yes, believe it or not about 5

or 6 tanks spread along the road around this area.

I took some video of this, being careful to hide the iphone if I thought police were looking at me, as you can never tell when they might get grumpy in such a special situation.

We made it safely to the zoo, where I proceeded to repack having purchased another suitcase, and rope to tie the drum in a rug. I hit my head hard on the car door, in a clutzy move probably because of the stress, and was bleeding for a little. So

we had lunch, and I got to relax. Tilapia by Lake Victoria, yum. The animals were wonderful; the injured one from parks heal up here before

going back to the wild. I will have pix soon. It was quite a last day in Uganda!

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May 9-10

I went to an "African African" restaurant, as Larry 
called it.
In an area with a lot of small shops you find a woman 
cooking things in big pots
and tell her what you want. There is a dirt floor and 
metal roof. I got
fish, vegetables, matoke, rice and posho. And a Stony 
Tamagizwa, ginger
beer, as usual. This all cost about $1.50, a huge meal, 
and was freshly
cooked. We sat at a table outside a shop in the area. 
A dog was lying
in the shade of a truck near me, but he was not 
interested in my matoke.

Tues I tried to meet with the Maltech U principal 
(president) but he wasn't there. I'll just show up 
tomorrow to do a lecture there. We went to the Hare 
Krishna restaurant which was good downtown, and battled 
traffic through a couple of other stops for TATS 
business and back to the guesthouse before it rained.

Finally finished loonspace.c to create new scores, 
and sent 10 of them off to Hoon in Seoul. I guess 
they will perform the piece in October. It will be 
nice to have this program for other uses, too. 

The Stawa class was great. Prof Justinian Tamasuza 
(composer), 4 or 5 of his former students, and his 
wife Prof Sylvia Tamasuza (ethnomusicologist) came, 
and were enthusiastic participants. I talked about 
granular synthesis. I played Smoke, and they loved it. 
Usually when I play a piece people here love 
it. We are planning for some future seminar online, 
or next summer maybe. 

I have been enjoying the Stawa U. students, as they 
are learning something new and generally like it, but 
this was on a new level with a bunch of composers! 
They are enthusiastic about learning electronic music. 
Prof Tamasuza studied electronic music as a grad student 
at Northwestern and at
Belfast. I created a resource document and sent it 
around on flash drive. I also found out they have a 
whiteboard and projector here, altho it's not for sure 
that the projector works. 

So tomorrow (Wed) I have a talk at Maltech U, a meeting with 
collaborator Kalungi who will bring me an akogo (thumb 
piano), the Stawa U class, and maybe dinner at the 
rotating restaurant with a view. Thursday I head off 
to Entebbe to see the botanical garden and then catch 
my flights back to the US. I am very eager to see T 
and S, but also kind of surprised that the month here 
has gone by so quickly. I will miss Uganda, but am so 
enriched by the visit!
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Sipi Falls Photos May 8, mostly


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Budongo Forest and Road Photos May 7

 that’s a chimp!

 monkey by the road


 mom gets mad

 swamp flower


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The last week May 7-12

We left at 5am, I packed 2 pieces of white bread and ate some peanuts. We hit a big white bird at some point, which I felt bad about for a while. I got to see the sunrise off to the right. Budongo is west of Murchison Falls, at the NW corner of Uganda. Sauda was our guide, and Larry also went on this tracking. A Dutch couple was also in the group. We drove a way up the road in the guide’s vehicle because the chimps were believed to be there. Sauda was great, obviously practiced and knowledgeable. She would listen, and then tell us what was going on with the chimps. There were more than one group, and she was trying to figure out if they would meet, or which way they would go, which is unpredictable. There were more vines in this forest than anywhere I’d been before. We were usually on trails in the beginning but later often went into the vegetation. It was not as thorny as Kibale.

I heard something fluttering around the back of my neck and I won-

dered if it was a bat. It made my hair stand on end in a kind of sensual

way. Later a simlar sound happened and I saw the source, a butterfly,

in front of me darting around, I hope it recorded!

We saw 2 chimps on the path ahead, females. Several times we heard calls, sometimes loud, when a baby got away from the mother and

started yelling for her. We saw them several times in trees and once coming down. We also heard various groups communicating.

It was a wonderful and tiring hike, and I think I probably have some

great sounds recorded.

Lunch was in Masindi at De Venue Hotel, where a guy wanted me to help him with an application to a school in England.

Larry noticed the bird had taken off the Nissan logo on the front of the

car. We drove on Gulu Rd again and turned east on Lira Rd, heading

for Lira. People in Lira were turning their heads at me, and I felt

very muzungu!

We hit a rooster. I was playing with my camera and did not see it.

We saw soccer (football) games by the road. There was a naked boy in

a swamp fishing.

We stayed in Siroti, a big city relatively with pretty trees around the

houses. I helped choose the hotel. It was very nice but I had almost no

hot water in the shower and was not up for complaining. I heard something howling outside (dogs?) as I went to sleep.

We hit record potholes on the road from Sirota. I had been concerned

about going in the smaller car rather than the Land Cruiser which had

been vandalized, since we generally drive fast. But this Nissan seemed

to do well in all sorts of situations. Unfortunately the fuel guage got

stuck on 1/4 tank full, and we ran out of gas by the swamps. I recorded

sounds while Larry went for gas in a bus/taxi. Cows came by the road,

hearded by boys who were excited to wave at me. Larry came back

in 1/2 hour with guys with soda bottles full of pinkish translucent


We went on and the road to Sipi Falls turned into a very nice road. We

drove through the tribal lands where the boys are circumcised, to the

tribe where the girls are circumcised, which are south of where

the naked tribe lives. All Ugandans belong to some tribe. One tribe

has women who ride bicycles (I guess this is unusual in Uganda).

The views became wonderful as Mt Elgon became visible.

The walk was not as steep as some previous on the way down, and as

scenic as any. The falls were not huge, but very beautiful and I recorded audio and video with the guide, Peter’s help. He is from a tribe that

came from Ethiopia a while back. He wants to build a

better bridge at the falls, and study video. I really had a hard time with

this hike even though it was not as steep as some, probably due

to the altitude we had driven to this morning, after staying at

swamp level the night before. I had to rest a lot and my throat

became sore from breathing so hard. I thought maybe a bee

had stung my throat as I had choked on something, but it was

probably the altitude, according to Peter. I was unable to do the

2nd and 3rd falls hike, even though they were easier.

We had lunch at a scenic lodge, where I was shocked to get

quiche (the first time in  Africa). Unfortunately it had bacon in it.

We headed back for Kampala, and I was aware this was my last

tour in Uganda on this trip. I tried to stay awake to enjoy the

ride. We passed babboons by the road, and crossed the Nile near Jinja.

Back in Kampala I had pizza for the first time in Uganda, and it was

good, with avocado, green olives and chicken.

I have 4 days left, and leave on Thursday. Today I tried on and picked

up the African dresses, which are amazingly beautiful. Then I met

with Kalungi and did a better recording than last week, this time

at the Art for Social Change school.

I will be trying to create sound for a piece with Kalungi, Livingstone’s

group, possibly House of Talent and the TATs installation before I

leave, which is a lot to do.

Uganda has been wonderful. It has been so good for me to see such different

cultures, such wonderful people and to understand a little about the

tribal peoples and traditional arts, music and dance. I’ve written

mostly about the parks, but the time with people here has been just

as fascinating. In 5 years I’m sure this will not be the same place,

and I’m glad I got to see it now. There are difficulties here for

Americans, drinking bottled water, watching what you eat,

the state of roads, some bathrooms, outrageous gas prices,

crazy driving situations, security and police with guns, etc. But those are a small price to pay for the experience of a unique mix of cultures,

chance to experience wildlife close up, and people who seem to make

a regular practice of kindness.

 crossing the Nile again

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Kampala April 30 – May 6

I spend Saturday on the code for loonspace. I had 
somehow lost the C code for Implements and Loonspace,
 and it just didn't work out to send the old marked 
scores used by others. It was harder than I predicted 
and I didn't finish. 

Sunday I went to Mabire Forest, less than 2 hours 
away, and recorded more birdsong on a nice forest 
walk. I had roasted chicken on a stick at the nearby 
village, and entertained the children and myself at 
the stands there by taking pictures of the kids and 
then showing what I'd photographed to them. I was 
also invited in to one of the shops, and talked with 
the women in side. It was dark, but there was a TV 
and saloon hairdryer inside. I was really tired after
 female red-tailed monkey

May 2-6 I had LOTS of meetings with various people 
and groups about potential collaborations, and 
continued teaching the Stawa U course for an hour or 
hour and a half each evening. Since here I've met 
with, sometimes more than once, House of Talent, 
Mikael from Uganda Heritage Roots (Makarere), 
Livingstone from Talented Entertainers, an Aids 
action group Reach Out, people at Art for Social Change
school, and others. It has been busy 
enough that I've had little time to work on sound! 
I've usually enjoyed these meetings as they are 
windows into different worlds, and Ugandans are 
generally so kind, unpretentious and serious about 
what they are doing, in a relaxed way. The meeting 
Kalungi, a performer and teacher, is going to result
in a collaborative piece. 

I checked on my dresses I'd ordered to be handmade 
at African Queen, 2 blocks away, and they were in 
progress, and looking very good. 
I also had the idea to do an installation of the nature sounds for 
TATS here in the lobby, and we are planning for it.
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Kibale Photos April 29

No photos of chimps here, but I do have some video to sort through later.

 bird sunning itself by park office

 baboons on the way out of Kibale

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