Saturday, August 05, 2006

Khorog


We apologize for the lack of posts, here on the blogosphere. For the last two weeks we've been kept busy by some exciting ethnodanceomusicological activity in Badakhshan! Yes, we made it to Khorog! At first we were going to fly, but then (as things happen in Tajikistan) at the last minute our plane was canelled and we (along with Aliah and Tara, the other American dancers on the project) found a ride with a couple Italians on their own ethnomusicological journey and Aliah's friend, Aya, from America who just happens to be doing her own academic work in Tajikistan. Long story short, we had a wonderful, two day, bumpy van ride from Dushanbe to Khorog. We stopped in a village called Darvoz where there just happen to be a huge party for someone's 70th birthday . . . we danced, of course. There, we were generously hosted by the head of the village and his family. Upon arrival in Khorog, we were met by Sharlyn and Robyn, who had found us a large house (with an indoor bathroom) in the center of town, wonderfully close to the bazaar. There are two interns from Dushanbe, Maruf and Safina, who flew in to Khorog the day after we arrived. There are also two interns from Khorog, Nasiba and Dilya, who joined the group and help us with language (people here speak Shughni as well as Tajik and some Russian, of course) and cultural intracacies. Finally, Uvaido is our logisical go to guy who helps us set up the meetings with dancers and musicians, arranges for drivers, gets us internet in the middle of the Pamirs, and shows us a good time. Anyway, after the first week, Sharlyn and Robyn took off back to America, leaving us to run the project ourselves . . . and here's what we do . . . in a nutshell: Uvaido and a driver and a couple of us drive out to a village and just stop by the house of a well known musician. Uvaido performs his magic and asks if maybe tomorrow they can set up a performance of Pamiri music (Rapo, Falak, Maddoh etc.) and get a dancer or two. Oh yeah, and there will be about a dozen guests with video cameras and a microphone! They say "O.K" and we return the next day in 2 or 3 cars and are invited into a traditional Pamiri home where there is a meal prepared and a curious family watching and serving us and musicians preparing to play. After tea and some food the performance begins and we capture it on video and people are taking notes and Andy's recording the music (we thought we were dreaming the first time we found ourselves in this situation) and then they stop and eat with us and we do some interviewing and chatting. On our way out we give them some gifts of food and money and things for the children and go on our way. We've gone to about 5 or so homes now in two different regions, Roshtkala and Ghund. In the next couple of weeks we'll go to Ishkashim and the Bartang Valley as well as meeting some people in Khorog and doing follow up interviews. So, that's the scoop. We have lots of pictures and we'll post them as we get the opportunity. The connection here isn't so fast (or always working) so it might take some time to upload photos.

4 Comments:

Blogger Shelley said...

Hurrah! Yes, this does sound like a dream. I can't tell you how much I envy the two of you and I am just itching to get to that bazaar! You will have such wonderful tales to tell and an experience that no one here will be able to comprehend. I check your site every day, breathlessly waiting for news! Remember that what becomes ordinary for you in the weeks to come is a once in a lifetime dream for the rest of us! Take care of yourselves!
Love, Shelley

5:24 PM  
Blogger Spanky said...

Wow I didn't know Tajikistan still had those Kmart photo booths where you sit in front of absolutely otherworldly backdrops that you couldn't possibly REALLY be sitting in front of due to the altogether otherworldlyness of it all.

1:39 AM  
Blogger sherrardtron said...

Aweseome!

10:46 AM  
Blogger sherrardtron said...

Or, awesome, rather!

10:47 AM  

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