Writings, Essays, Lyrics, Musings, Commentary . . .
Article #15: At The Crossroads - Part I - A Little NewsEarly Spring, 2002 - by Gaye Adegbalola
BLUE MAMA BLACK SON, the project with my son, Juno, continues to evolve. We will be playing our first festival in April and we will see how our "Industrial Blues" are received by a large, diverse audience. We are combining traditional blues songs that I have written with Juno's Goth industrial musical execution. The collaboration has been extremely successful in clubs, but we'll see what happens in this expanded format. The song on the previous article page, "I Ain't Gonna Wear No Burq'a," will be debuted in this industrial format.
COVER GIRLS -- Saffire is the cover story for the April/May issue of Blues Revue magazine. Blues Revue is the largest blues magazine in the world and the April/May issue is the festival issue. Please check it out. At the risk of sounding pompous, I am very proud of us! Blues Revue is available on many newsstands -- for sure at Borders and such stores. If you can't find it, call Blues Revue at 304.782.1971.
FIRST COLLABORATION -- I have never written a song with anyone else... until a couple of months ago. E.G. Kight, who penned three songs on the Saffire's "Ain't Gonna Hush!" CD, and I hooked up. We have completed "One More (One Story 9/11)." E.G. is currently in the studio creating a demo. It has been a wonderful experience and I'm sure we'll try it again. Keep an ear out for it.
BLUES WOMAN AT THE CROSSROADS
Usually what I write for Saffire's site and what I write for this site are entirely different, but this time, I am posting this article on both sites. First, because many folks have inquired as to how the trip to South Africa went; and, secondly, I have important news to share.
I have started writing this piece dozens of times on the keyboard and many more times in my head. I want to tell you about our trip to South Africa, but I can't. Words are inadequate and cannot begin to capture the images of my heart.
Visual images abound -- Robben Island (where former President Mandela was imprisoned), the winelands around Stellenbosch, beautiful Zulu and Xhosa and Ndebele art everywhere, posters about AIDS everywhere,* fences topped with razors surrounding homes and businesses, youth choirs singing in the marketplace, blues bands in the Oude Libertas Amphitheater, 7-11s, Tabletop Mountain, a Capetown that looks quite like San Francisco, a Capetown bloated with poverty. Shacks, literally shacks, as far as the eye can see. And they're called "townships." Poverty, unbelievable poverty.
In no way can words capture what's in my heart. So much to tell; so unable to tell it. Yet we were treated royally and I personally felt no discrimination, but I am DEVASTATED. Perhaps Ann and Andra can illuminate in a future article. Sincerely, I cannot.
After 9-1-1, I reflected long and hard on what's important in my life. My partner, Suzanne, my Mom (she just turned 89 and is doing fine!), my son, my friends, my community, my people . . . my people. Life is so precious, so fragile, that it was time for me to reevaluate what I want to do with mine. (I turn 58 on 3/21/02.) I have so enjoyed this wonderful journey, but I was/am at the crossroads.
I made the decision in January that I needed to change directions. I talked with Ann and Andra and Bonnie, our manager. Come the fall, Saffire will no longer tour as we have been. We will take on special events and projects, but our respective journeys will move in different directions. Ann will continue with her many solo performances. Andra is thinking on a solo CD project. Me, I have no idea what I'll do, but I trust that the universe will unveil herself to me. I am sure that my newly found South African awareness will factor in opening my heart, as 9-1-1 factored in opening my mind. Experiences in South Africa affirm my change of direction.
I am so very thankful for the goodness in my life and especially thankful to anyone who is reading this now. You have allowed me to be part of your life and, in turn, have made my journey possible. I am a blues woman. I have carried the legacy as best I could. And I will remain a blues woman with all that the term historically connotes. A blues woman. . . at the crossroads.
Next month, I will share the reasons for my decision to leave the road.