Artists continually suffer for refusing to bow to the morality police. Yet, like this Kentuckian, we are all Unbridled Spirits, refusing to conceit to itty bitty morality pity. It’s a shame that one has to chant louder, write faster, read quicker, exercise harder, know more and listen with more compassion, isn’t it? Naw, that’s just old skewl.
“Si tu savais auquel point j’ai de l’affection pour toi dou-dou, tu n’aurais pas me faite ca. Hmmm, je veux savoir.”
Translation: “If you knew how much affection I had for you, boo, you would not have done me like that. Hmm, I wanna know.”
Ok, forgive me if I missed any specifics in the few translations I offer here, but the points remain clear. I first heard Black So Man in Bankass, a small town six hours by bush-taxi from the regional capital, Mopti, a half-day by bus journey from Bamako, Mali’s capital. Bankass was closer to the border of Black So Man’s native Burkina Faso.
Mali and Burkinabe share many things culturally: a porous border in that region (despite the infamous Gendarmerie), and both colonial language and dialects of Mande, i.e. French as well as Bambara and Jula, comprising the regional lingua franca in spite of imperial political boundaries demarcating artificial nation-states. Compared to Sénégal and Côte d’Ivoire, the two nations were ‘relatively’ saved from the squander of colonialism- apparently the French didn’t find many resources in the land-locked, dry, arid, climates to extrapolate- other than the folks! Even one of Burkina Faso’s largest city’s Bobojulaso (literally “the home of the Bobo and Jula peoples’ father) reflects the breadth of cultural kinship amongst Mande speaking peoples right from Guinea on the coast, through to Burkinabe deep in the Sahel.