Monday, May 25th, 2020

Rag Mama Rag in Africa

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We have just returned from a two week stay in Benin in west Africa. We were there to play at The Sekanami  festival which was a week long event in the town of Adjarra.  http://sekanami.org/

The festival took place nearby to a local school.  We played to a vast crowd of enthusiastic Beninois who joined us  during the choruses of  “Minnie the Moocher” and “Freight Train”.  This was the first time we have played in Africa and we have to say that the experience was very much an eye opener. Benin does have a lot of poverty but we rarely saw anyone who complained and the way these people carry a smile around should be a lesson to all of us in Europe. Unfortunately the last part of the trip was marred by a cancelled Air France flight leaving us and all of the other musicians stranded in Benin. All thanks must go to the festival organiser Mr Pascal de France who managed to turn this situation around by insisting that Air France should fly us home from the neighbouring country of Togo. This was all going well until we arrived at the Benin/Togo border. Two members of our group were taking photos of the overladen vehicles that were passing by. Unfortunately they had not seen the sign saying NO PHOTOS and their equipment was confiscated. This was not the end of our adventure! While waiting for our visas to be checked on the Togo side of the border one of our group shouted out that our bus had been crushed. We all ran to the point where our  two buses were parked and to our amazement discovered a crushed bus under a  huge pile of cotton bales. There was also a crushed car and motor bike. One of the  overloaded lorries had been knocked over by the wind and thus the catastrophe.  Luckily no one was injured and we all piled in to the other bus and continued our  journey. Needless to say we made it the airport in time.

We will not forget this trip in a hurry!!


Children selling milk drinks on the streets of Cotonou




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