BRAVADO
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.

 
Pullan family


Rokia Traoré - "N'Téri". I'm visiting Paris for a couple of weeks. I have visited here before. When I was 12, when I was 22, when I was 25, when I was 28. Four visits. It is easy to be cocky. Sure, the 14ième. Oh yeah, L'As du Falafel. Why je t'en prie. I pretend I am not a tourist. I am a saucy know-it-all. I am a boss. I drink pastis and Sancerre, hop on vélib. I am tempted, for one precarious moment, to spit upon the street. But no I do not. As the second sunset settles I am reminded: Be humble. Soyez humble. You are a stranger here, a mouse, a drab visitor from faraway. You are borrowing this horizon. You are stealing this clouded sunlight. These cream pastries, these lemongrass chocolates, these cheeses and breads and wines and olives, these cobblestones - they are all gifts. We come to this place and the unsaying city says, Here. It says it without saying it. Some generosities are so matter-of-fact that you can mistake them for weather, for masonry. We travel and we are welcome: this is a privilege, do not forget; this is a windfall. Merci.

These feelings - I have been feeling them but they are also tossed up into the air, blown like dandelion seeds, by Rokia Traoré's "N'Téri". Traoré is a Malian artist, singing in Bambara, and this is from her new album. It is a gorgeous treasure of a song - seven minutes of slow waking, then the day's wakeful living. OK and then maybe the night too: the scatter of dancesteps on a clean floor, until they abruptly halt.

I walked under flowering chestnut trees; I listened to "N'Téri". In both, it was easy to be seduced. To be a boss, a saucy know-it-all. To be forgetfully comfortable in Traoré's serenade, in her song's perfect rings. But no, listen: We are guests. This is faraway music, and a gift. So generous, so generous, the playing is so generous: slow bass, a kind voice, metronome guitar, then the waking glitter of electric guitar. I feel like I have been welcomed into a garden, or a magic desert, with lines of shade and white light, rainfall and sun, restful hours. A bird crosses the sky without flapping its wings. I think, Bonjour. (The bird, too, is a gift.)

N'Téri is a word that means friend. My friend. This is a gift Traoré has given us. I hope one day to deserve the name.

[buy]

(photo is of members of Delhi's Pullan family, all of whom have albinism - source)

Posted by Sean at May 13, 2013 3:59 PM
Comments

This is beautiful, Sean.

Posted by Pierre at May 14, 2013 10:31 AM

Truly, truly wonderful opening paragraph.

Posted by Roger at May 15, 2013 3:24 AM

This is a stunning album. I'm glad you're spreading the word, and I'm insanely jealous of you listening to this in Paris.

Posted by Barclay at May 16, 2013 10:06 AM

Opening paragraph is great. Thanks.

Posted by Some Other Sean at May 18, 2013 5:56 PM

thank you for this gorgeousness

Posted by maureen at May 28, 2013 12:56 AM

Post a comment







(Please be patient, it can be slow.)
about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.

Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
Montreal, Canada: Sean
Toronto, Canada: Emma
Montreal, Canada: Jeff
Montreal, Canada: Mitz

Please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets like soundcloud: Said the Gramophone posts are always accompanied by MP3s.

If you are the copyright holder of any song posted here, please contact us if you would like the song taken down early. Please do not direct link to any of these tracks. Please love and wonder.

"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by .
PAST AUTHORS
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
our patrons
Said the Gramophone does not take advertising. We are supported by the incredible generosity of our readers. These were our donors in 2013.
watch StG's wonderful video contest winners
search


Archives
elsewhere
our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Dau.pe
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Herohill
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Molars
Daytrotter
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Musicophilia
Anagramatron
Nicola Meighan
Fluxblog
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
LPWTF?
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
ftrain
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Marathonpacks
Song, by Toad
In Focus
AMASS BLOG
Inventory
Waxy
WTF [podcast]
Masalacism
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
Goldkicks
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
eat:
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
lawrence
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
ripples
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

shop:
phonopolis
drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

shows:
casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe


(maga)zines
Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
McSweeney's
State
The Skinny

community
ILX