Friday, September 23, 2011

Anchors Away

Danny: Djibouti Africa

Today we were escorted by Omar and his driver to the Camp Lemonier Naval instillation in Djibouti. This was originally the site of a WW 2 French North African base.
We were allowed to shop in the instillation store, where coincidentally there was a NY Mets game on the t.v.(I was born and raised in Flushing, the teams home) and there were all sorts of great deals on stuff from the States. We are playing tonight in a giant hall for the enlisted men and women. Everyone is so happy to have a band from home come play for them.

We met Command Master Chief , Loretta Glenn, she is from new Orleans and she was kind enough to pose with us.

We have been working with Command Seargent Major, Ricky Mattix. He is a great musician and educator here in Djibouti. He lent us the base PA in order to do our workshops. He volunteers his time, teaching music to the youth canteen here in Djibouti. He brought us to the camp and we will join his band later when we play. He surprised us all when he gave us a coin that is a symbol of excellence.

We then were escorted to the mess hall, where we chowed down with the troops. There are Navy, Air force, Army and Marines here on the only US instillation in Africa.

Earlier today, the US Ambassador Geeta Pasi, spent an hour with us over coffee and tea. We were thrilled to talk with her about Djibouti, New York state, India
and all the interesting things going on in the world right now. We had a great time and learned so much about this country.

Africa, oh Africa

Damny: Djibouti Africa

Last night we played at the home of the US Ambassador to Djibouti. She hosted a gathering in her garden for local business leaders, service men & women, embassy personnel and of course the JRB.

We set up on the veranda and were introduced by our amazing new friend and caretaker, Omar. He remarked that America is made up of immigrants from all over the globe and that we forged a unique American art form, Jazz. You can hear in it the call and response and its pulse, the heartbeat of Africa.
In that moment I felt so blessed to be here in Africa, playing music and breathing in her sweet salted sea-breeze. I have to pinch myself sometimes, because this is such a dream to play this music here in Africa where these rhythms were forged.

We played for an hour and everyone listened and participated in some call and response. A new friend was busy sketching us as we played.

We handed out CD's to our new friends and are looking forward to seeing them all on FB. We are so lucky to meet such beautiful, charming and interesting people from all over the world. The people of Djibouti and the US Embassy here, have opened their arms to us.

Me & a mosquito bracelet

After the concert, Omar took us to an amazing French style Lebonese resturaunt. Here we met other emmbassy friends from all over the States. We had whole fish grilled in a
stone pit oven over wood embers.

Bon Appetite :)