Soukous E-Waste Happy Consequences

Reuse and repair and recycling or electronics in Africa.   Look what happened when some Westerner "discarded" his used electric guitar in the Congo (Zaire)...

By 1975, Soukous was pandemic.

Franco repaired and reused the guitar, in defiance that "Things Fall Apart".

He tuned it to match the strings he had.  He listened to Papa Wendo... He jammed electric.

Poly-rhythm.  Soukous.

Robin danced to Soukous! in Bukavu, Zaire.

When the massacres occurred in Bukavu, Burundi, Rwanda, etc., and I saw the bodies floating in the lake Kivu I used to swim in... it was shocking, like something from "28 Days Later".  But I also saw the Soukous and Makossa bands were still catching on in New York, Paris, Washington...

Now yours truly cannot stop thinking about giving Africans used electric "ewaste" guitars.  I remember my students of "technologie" in Cameroun, concentrating on their electric schematic diagrams.

Listen to the Soukous song at top for at least the third minute, when they "shift gears".  The soukous "shifting gears" - adding a new guitar rhythm, revolutionized African music.  It just gets more intense and lovely, and they just start to sneak more polyrhythms in after each chorus.


Jimmy Hendrix burned his guitar, in America, not Franco in Zaire.  Westerners invented "waste", in poor countries they harvest commodities.  "Yankee frugality" has become a joke.  If I started my own band tonight, it would be called "Zabaleen", and we would not burn or dispose of our guitars on stage.

Manu Dibango rules.  It wasn't ewaste.

No comments: