CLEANING THE COW SKIN ON THE ROOF
Here is a picture and some thoughts I wanted to share- about how Drum Casket in Bamako came together, and how beginning to tell the story with pictures, video, and words have been so far.
The experience in Bamako was incredible. In many ways, very specific plans came to fruition. For instance, much of the planning and drawing for the building of the drum made working with local craftsman very smooth and even familiar. On the other hand, some of the most enlightening moments would have been impossible to prepare for. Sometimes I found something to be fantastic, while someone there saw it as typical or rather uninteresting.
With any communication, there is an inevitable space for interpretation and misinterpretation. Collaborating in a context of different languages and cultural values is what I think is most compelling. Even as I'm working on bringing the pictures and video together to tell the story- more or less from start to finish, I'm finding the meaning of it all difficult to pin down. I know what my intentions are and what I'm learning, but there are bits of the unknown. This makes me happy. This keeps it alive.
This is my teacher Madoudjan, professional drummer and drum builder, and me working on the roof of the house I was staying in. The wood structure in the foreground is the frame for the lid of the Drum Casket. We are cleaning the the cow skin before soaking and stretching the skin over the frame. Here the skin is mostly dry, having been taken off the cow about 48hrs earlier. We are using our feet to hold the skin, fur side down, as we clean off undesirable remnants of meat and fat with shaving razors.
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