Three: Street Performance

We moved further up the Kogne, and changed the position of the antenna so that the tiny lanes (which sold radios) could catch the signal. Ramata, a feisty lady and her troupe from Pikene (a suburb of Dakar, home to Bollywood fans) was going to perform. She began her performance from a window on a ground floor house. A voice encouraging equality for women, sharing of electricity, and the joys of battery power greeted those tuned into 103.fm. (on translating some footage later, Batje, one of our crew members told us that she was projecting the battery as a new way of sharing electricity, which the Indians were promoting! Not entirely surprising, Arcelor-Mittal was already mining iron-ore in Senegal, TATA buses were plying on their new roads and later that week we met the proprietor of the sole Indian restaurant who among other trades and deals like importing Bajaj bikes was looking to import Su-Kam inverters from India as Senegal with its electricity shortage seemed a likely market.

Ramata, began walking down the lane, singing a song, her voice resounded in different pockets and corners of the lane. Soon she appeared in the clearing on the main road, in a dazzling violet sequined sari! Her cohort jumped out and did a comedy skit after which to everyones surprise Ramata's daughter came dancing out of a shop in a violet organza salwaar-kameez and veil and performed a duet with Ramata to a song from Nagin. Through the evening they regaled the neighbours with comedy skits including a 'sharabi' act in Hindi with due credit to Bollywood, a break dance competition for the kids....at close to 9, the battery began to beep and the performance slowly wound down to an end.

Gallery: Three: Street Performance
Sept Soirees

Sept Soirees was a series of battery-powered "evenings" in the Marche N' Gellaw, a suburban market in Dakar, Senegal. These evenings were conceived in a situation where there is scarce time, space or other resources for communal activity at a certain scale. Also because of the peculiar condition of cinemas in Dakar: there are only two still functioning.
These "micro-cinema" and "micro-radio" events are performed by showing up at a street corner with some equipment, and negotiating the rest.



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