BOSETTI, ALESSANDRO: African Feedback (book +CD)

Code: bosettiAfrican
Price: £14.50
Quantity in Basket: None
64pp A5 flatbound booklet with CD. The book consists of interviews made in small villages in Burkino Faso. Bosetti plays noise/music (Derek Bailey, Hugh Davis, Berio, Parch, Messaien, Yoshihide, Lucier, Chion, Parmegiani &c.) individually (via headphones) to people of all ages - who have never heard anything remotely like this before - and asks them first what they hear - eliciting the most extraordinary, elaborate, graphic and mystifying responses - and then what they make of it: whether it's music and what music is, &c. This is deep matter and the answers are sometimes luminous and always fascinating. It's rare to escape so completely from our own cultural frames of reference, and instructive how possible it is, notwithstanding, to approach and share experiences and concepts on the apparently fragile ground of language (even when that ground is compromised through interpretation). What is common as well as what is alien is made manifest and, above all, a kind of mental hospitality that seems hardwired is revealed. Bosetti is very sharp and accurate in his accompanying footnotes and doesn't mythologize or idealise. He is perfectly aware of his inescapable role as outsider and of the quasi parasitical relationship between white strangers like himself - neither tourists nor administrators -and indigents who know and will supply - for complex sets of motives - what they think is wanted of them. Many levels of information and of misunderstanding are at play here and they shift and elide as you read. Each short interview is accompanied by photographs of the people or the locality and a list of the specific music played. The CD is gripping - it's worth buying the book for alone. Made of the voices and vocal sounds of the questionees, imitations and musical sounds (Western and local) and the proximate soundscape - variously raw and processed - and brilliantly organised into a form that is like nothing I have heard before. I can't recommend it too strongly. But that's me.