". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Da List: *Hip Deep Angola Part Three: A Spiritual Journey to Mbanza-Kongo now online*

This summer I had the tremendous experience of going to Mbanza-Kongo, in the north of Angola, where I recorded material for an episode of Afropop Worldwide Hip Deep and a still unfinished piece of writing.

Today is the distribution day for the show. This very special radio program will air on Public Radio International stations around the country this week. In New York, it will be heard on WNYE 91.5 FM on Saturday (24) at 11 p.m. and Monday (26) at noon.

You can hear it on Soundcloud at

Meanwhile, it's being broadcast against a background of turmoil in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. See this and this.

Produced by Ned Sublette

HIP DEEP ANGOLA 3: A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY TO MBANZA-KONGO (distribution date November 22). Today Mbanza-Kongo (Kongo City) is part of Angola, in the north where the Congo River divides Angola from the Democratic Republic of Congo. When the first missionaries arrived there in 1491, it was the seat from which the Manikongo (king) ruled over a large area that reached to south of Luanda. It was a city of luxury, with perhaps as many as 60,000 people at its peak. To make this unprecedented program, producer Ned Sublette traveled to Mbanza-Kongo to rendezvous with Dr. Bárbaro Martínez Ruiz, professor of art and art history at Stanford.

We’ll learn about the simbi, the spirits that Martínez Ruiz describes as “the multiple power of god”; hear Antonio Madiata play the lungoyi-ngoyi, the two-stringed viola of the Kongo court; attend a session of the lumbu, the traditional tribunal of elders; listen to the voice of a deceased singer who took 500 years of genealogical knowledge with him when he departed; talk to traditional healer Pedro Lópes; and with the help of historian C. Daniel Dawson and with Angolan composer and musicologist Victor Gama, we’ll examine Kongo-Ngola culture in the diaspora – in Brasil, Haiti, Cuba, and more.

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