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!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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!
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sipi Falls Photos May 8, mostly


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Budongo Forest and Road Photos May 7

 that’s a chimp!

 monkey by the road


 mom gets mad

 swamp flower


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bigodi Photos April 29

 Great Blue Turaco

 moth in treehouse

 view from Bigodi treehouse

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bidogi Swamp, Kibale Chimp Tracking April 29

We stayed in Fort Portal at the Le Jus Centre, a 
Catholic hotel, and I had African food including chicken
 stew, matoke, vegetables and potatoes.

I went on a walk with guide Jerod in Bigodi Swamp, a 
bird sanctuary, the next morning. The female assistant 
guide, who is in training, was helpful, too. Apparently 
this walk is better ifyou start at 7am than 9am as I did, 
but I was not disappointed. The persistent tinker bird 
caught my ear as we walked down the road to the trail. 
I heard, and hope I recorded, great sounds of various 
birds, all of which he could name. I recorded and saw 
Blue Turocos. I also saw a small green snake sliding 
up into the branches. It was a non-poisonous snake. 
Ugand has a lot of poisonous snakes, like mambas and 
cobras, but they usually stay away from people. Since 
they don't see, they can't very well attack unless 
they are provoked. 
We ended up at a treehouse with a nice view and a huge 
moth in the roof. 
The walk went longer, but I had to leave to get to my 
newly scheduled Kibale chimp tracking to make up for 
the one I'd missed. The female guide said next time 
she would be the one to take me.  We ate lunch prepared 
by women at Bigodi, fish, and other standard African 
foods. It took a while to prepare as usual, but was 
tasty when it arrived. I also had time to buy some crafts, 
a string with four small colorful stuffed animals, a 
small adungu (bow harp or guitar) and some other things.

The chimp tracking that afternoon in Kibale Park was 
quite a hike! Chimps move fast and my guide Alex and 
I spent a couple of hours tracking them with no luck, 
through thick rainforest jungle, sometimes wet ground, 
and threatening rain most of the time. He moved fast 
and sometimes let branches hit me after he'd passed, 
but I can't criticize his dedication in finding the 
chimps. At one point he left me for a few minutes to 
find them, and I was a little afraid, but saw monkeys 
and was able to record with no extraneous noise which 
was nice. The bird that calls "it will rain" was singing
 most of the time, but it never did rain. We crossed 
the road a couple of times, and found foot prints, 
but no actual chimps. Finally he called the office and 
got Larry to drive us down to another area too far to 
walk. We saw chimps running across the road! We got out 
and followed, and it was a while before we heard them. 
The guide said the stridant tone was an alarm call -- 
maybe one of them had been separated from the group. 
We followed it and then saw 3 males. They had found food 
(figs and leaves) and were eating, and making happy 
noises. They let the others know they had food, and 
it was good. The others may or may not join in that 
situation, depending on what they had found. We were 
lucky - four others came on the ground, so we had a 
good opportunity to seem them arrive and climb up into 
the trees to eat. This tracking was 3 intense hours 
and I was glad I hadn't given up after 2. 

Later I recorded near one of the crater lakes, and saw 
a red-billed bird on a branch above the water. Something 
was near the top of the water - turtle? I was too tired 
to climb down and see, and pointed my mic down there. 

Something was leaking from the car, Larry noticed, at 
this stop. We went back to Fort Portal to the gas 
station, and it was unclear if the vehicle would make 
it back to Kampala, but he thought it probably would. 
It could be better fixed there. 
We had dinner there and I had malo for the first time, 
cooked millet which is kind  of like a huge dumpling 
that you break off squishy parts of and dip into stew 
It was very good. 

It was a fast drive back to Kampala, and the truck did 
fine. There were a number of police checkpoints, but they 
usually waved us through. This was my longest tour on 
this trip, and I was sorry it was ending already. It 
would be nice to spend several days at most of the parks. 
We were back by 11pm, and I was glad to be able to say 
goodbye to Jim, and exchange stories. He had been 
(accidentally) in the riot Friday, but emerged unscathed 
by going with a local person to the village behind, 
which was safe! Tension has been building since the 
elections, and the demonstrations turned into riots 
in 2 districts of this very large city Thursday and 
Friday. 10 people were killed. I hoped I would not 
have to cut short my trip. I feel protected in the TATS 
space where people know what is going on and understand 
the local language news. I didn't go out the next Monday 
but there were no more problems. Demonstrations have 
been on Mondays and Thursdays usually, but writing this 
on May 9, things settled down last week, as people 
here had predicted. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More Rwenzori Photos

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment