Tuesday, 24 June 2014

A Betel Smile - Akha Women in Laos

Akha people love Betel, a plant with cardio tonic, vermicide, astringent, digestive and slightly narcotic properties. Betel is a good help against fatigue. The women on this video chew Betel leaves with powder of limestone. Side effects: the tannin contained in the plant stains their mouth and the limestone consumes their teeth..

Ethnic Groups of Laos

The Akhas were the bigger producer of opium in Laos and they could earn the small money they needed from the narco-traffickers. In order to fight this illegal commerce, the government relocated most of their villages along the main roads and converted their production to the rattan cane. The Akhas sell it on the market where all ethnic groups of Laos gather to trade. This video casts a suggestive look on the fragmented ethnic composition of Laos and shows how its peoples live nowadays. 

In Laos, Slush and Burn is a primitive agricultural system still in use to grow the "dry rice". After a few years the plantation need to be moved for the loss of productivity, but at least this method does not involve any chemical fertilizers. In this way, the waters of the rivers are not polluted and are suitable for all daily uses. When the village is to be transferred the Zoema, the chief of the community, finds the new location by interpreting a "special omen": the braking of an egg.

Herbs are another very important resource in Laos, both for healing and cooking. As an example, there is one herb that improves sex (although only for men..) while another one named Kalanka stops diarrhea...

Meeting the Shaman - Laos

A talk with a Shaman in a Lanten village in the jungle of Laos. Interesting explanation about the transmission of the shamanic knowledge through generations. Important texts are written in Chinese ideograms on a thin bamboo paper. The same paper was used in the past to wrap opium pats..

The most important duty of the Shaman is to put himself into contact with the Spirits when somebody passes away. Blood of chickens and dogs is poured all around the village, which remains closed. Nobody in, nobody out for 3 days. Then, the spirits are invoked at the sound of gongs and drums.

Ethnic School of Laos

Schooling system in Laos gathers pupils from all Ethnicities. The primary school shown in this video counts no absent, but later on in the years it is hard to find someone willing to continue the studies... 

The culture of the Akhas is very refined, although writing was unknown until recently. Yet, they say that they used to have text in the old times, but as they were written on buffalo skin the ancient Akhas ate all their written knowledge during a famine. Now, it is normal practice for them to learn everything by heart while others have to keep books..

Kids are the treasure of an Akha family, who very often welcomes among their own children adopted kids. Nature provides all the necessary food and during the celebrations the sacrifice of animals owned by the wealthy families allows the poorest to eat meat as well.

Kalom New Year Lunch - Laos

A Kalom family prepares the New Year lunch on the 3rd day of Songkran in Laos, starting with the butchering of a cow...and ending with a glass of Lao Lao whisky with poisonous Scolpendra and a turtle inside!

No Name Yet - Laos

No need to hurry to find the right name for a new-born baby. You may need time to understand which would be the appropriate one...

Everyday life of a Red Tai village in Laos. A mother weaves up to3 meters of beautiful fabric in a day while watching the children.

Rain Spirits over the Jungle - Laos

Laotian Rainmaking rituals during the 3rd day of Songkran. All tribes gather to the temple for the celebrations. Alms will be offered to the Buddhist Monks who will share them with the Akhas, an animist ethnic group.

Irritating the Spirits of the Sky sometimes can be more useful than pleasing them. This is because only when the Spirits get upset the rain starts to pour... This video shows a particular way to carry out Rainmaking practises by shooting rockets to the clouds.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Le Mani dei Primati

Certe volte mi viene da pensare che il modo in cui viviamo con il nostro corpo sia, come dire, fuorviante. Ho la strana sensazione per esempio, che i miei occhi non siano completamente atti al vedere. Non e’ colpa loro del resto, dato che hanno svolto un ottimo lavoro per 28 anni. Sono loro grato per come siano riusciti a superare con successo ore e ore trascorse al computer. Ma io? Posso dire di essere capace a sfruttare il loro potenziale?

La nostra vista può vedere un bersaglio a miglia di distanza, ma quante volte al giorno possiamo realmente alzare lo sguardo sopra l’orizzonte? Nella maggior parte dei casi, questa facoltà ci è addirittura del tutto inutile. Eppure l’antropologo C.L. Strauss scrisse di una tribù con un grande senso dell’orientamento perché era in grado di individuare nel cielo in pieno giorno il pianeta Venere. Lo stesso C.L. Strauss andò a vedersi vecchi trattati di navigazione e scoprì che la stessa cosa era possibile anche per antichi marinai della nostra civiltà. Non si può dire se il resto degli umani abbia perso questa abilità o si sia di dimenticato come usarla. (Claude Lévi-Strauss, Mito e Significato, 1978)

In parallelo, se il primo Homo Sapiens potesse fare una passeggiata nella nostra epoca, potrebbe compiere giusto qualche passo prima di soffocare. Egli non potrebbe vivere in un mondo con milioni di auto così come facciamo noi, anche se probabilmente poteva fare maggior affidamento sull'olfatto nel corso della sua normale vita quotidiana.

Così, dubbi sono avanzati in me riguardo le altre parti del corpo. Non sono più tanto sicuro che la bocca sia per mangiare e la lingua per assaporare il cibo. Non sono nemmeno sicuro che le mie mani afferrino correttamente le cose che sposto da una parte all’altra.

Al contrario, quando vedo degli scimpanzé alla televisione maneggiare delle pietre o dei bastoni, percepisco come essi veramente intendano le loro azioni mentre le compiono. Le loro mani sembrano avere un coscienza propria quando toccano ciò che presto sarà un attrezzo per pescare le formiche attraverso un buco nel terreno. Ho cominciato a credere che in questi momenti, le loro mani pelose, siano più mani delle mie.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Galeb and the Seagull - "The Letter"

One fine day Galeb (Goran Erjavec) decided that his goal in life was not mastering the art of classical guitar; on that very day he set aside his ten-years-long classical bildung and chose the lure of rock and roll, the rusticity of blues, the euphoria of funky.
Good friends and fair musicians accompanied him in his first steps, contributing to the realisation of his a first, genuinely felt EP.

This was but the beginning of a long (and ever longer) series of journeys.

His city had become too narrow for his creative flights, Galeb needed "an open space". Next stop: New Zealand! Six fruitful months, that brought him back with a lot of new ideas and the determination to dedicate himself to music.

From that moment on, the northern hemisphere of his art would be the faithful voice of his "room-neighbour" and life companion: Galeb's younger sister, the Seagull (Gaia Erjavec).
Galeb and the Seagull make a powerful duo, performing captivating “100% organic beach-music”... and warming up for the next departure together. A year in Australia full of adventures and meaningful experiences, that would see the fearless Galebs coming back home with new energy and creativity.

Even though separated for some time, following diverging paths, brother and sister would shortly meet again at home, Trieste, just in time to record "Sweet and Sour, Please!", their ticket for the next destination: the crazy streets of Berlin. 
And the right place for street musicians.

Here Galeb has the chance to share his experiences, emotions and passions directly with the people and get the best of the city's vibrations to cultivate with care the seeds of what will become "Picking Flowers". A sincere solo album, the result of the first six months busking in Berlin, with the Seagull and alone...

… and the flowers are continuing to bloom! Soon, very soon, Galeb will share with us the impressions of the last months of experiences, meetings, travelling, and hard work!

Here's “The Letter”, a taste of “The Sailor, The Bird ans the Butterfly”, the new album.

Enjoy and share the music!

Where to next?

On Soundcloud, listen to Galeb and the Seagull's music and download it for free;
Watch the videos on the youtube channel;
Follow his flights on the constantly updated facebook page, never miss a gig!