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In the predawn coolness of five a.m., we made coffee, put the dogs in the CRV, and set out along the deserted carretera to Chapala, a few miles away, where we walk the beasts. The night was dark and empty as an anchorman’s mind and a drizzle splattered across the windshield. Fulu Miziki poured from the stereo, which is pretty good in a CRV. I wondered how a Southern country boy came to be driving with an exotic Latina and a carful of useless if agreeable street dogs in central Mexico. Life is strange, I thought with my customary originality.

Africa, a long and low slung pooch, sits between the seats and peers down the road like some sort of guardian. She appears to be the product of a midnight liaison between a Border Collie and a fire hose. We found her a few years back as an abandoned puppy with the world’s most godawful case of mange. The vet dipped her in some strange potion and she bloomed. Few things in life can really be counted on, but mange dip is one of them. You have to believe in something.

But Fulu Miziki. These are a street band in Kinshasa. See what the internet has done? Your children may be Facebooking with them. The masks suggest interbreeding between the Hindu masks of Bali and something stolen from the store room of a Beijing opera company. But damn, the Fulus are fine musicians and having a hell of a good time.

We got to Chapala, parked, and got the dogs out on the malecón, which is a sort of tastefully patterned cement boardwalk along the lake. The malecón shiny with the rain. Waves were breaking on the shore and no one was out except the street sweepers and a few early runners.

Anyway, Fulu goes to garbage dumps and finds things to make musical instruments out of (Yes, two terminal prepositions. I am a bad person.): bottles, lengths of bamboo, old shoes, and unoccupied skulls. Its schtick, it says, is to persuade Congoans not to leave trash around, but I suspect they just can’t afford high-end instruments. They are great fun if crazy as three monkeys in a bag and enjoying themselves splendidly. Why not? If the rest of the world is miserable what with the virus and American foreign policy, why should they be?

Now you may be wondering, “Why is Fred running on about mad dusky buskers in the everloving Congo for God’s sake when he could tell us tales of death and horror and epidemic in Mexico? The virus is getting tedious is why.

But it is dangerous. A conservative friend says that the face masks tend to clog up with moisture from breath and nasal effluents, and stop the flow of air, causing oxygen deprivation and brain damage, so that you end up a Democrat. He may be biased, though.

I suppose I should say that I write about Fulu to spread word of the oneness of man and to share heartwarming examples of the contributions of differing cultures to all that makes us human, and so on. This would be pure bullshit. Actually I seem to have a God-given talent for disgruntling almost everybody. I believe that one should exercise one’s gifts. In particular I like to horrify White Nationalists, WhyNats, who annoy me by writing sententious agitprop about places I rather like, such as India, China, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

Ha. Fulu must seem to them like the nightmare rhythm section of a banned human sacrifice ceremony by midnight in the zombie-ridden outback of Haiti. You know, the kind where the hors d’oeuvres can only be made from the pituitaries of living humans.

Or maybe they are just a street band in Kinshasa. You can’t have everything.

(“WhyNat” is under patent protection as being almost as tediously ostentatious as “ChiCom” and may be used only with prior written permission.)

Write Fred at [email protected] Put the letters pdq anywhere in the subject line to avoid heartless atuodeletion.

 
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• Category: Culture/Society • Tags: Africa, Music 
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  1. Exotic Latina? Sure Fred. Riiight. Fulu? Fulu is on every street corner in every Blue city in the United States. His creativity is on stage as he plays his ‘drums’, a set of 5-gallon plastic paint cans stolen from a construction site along with his Number 5 Vic Firth drumsticks stolen from the Guitar Center.

    Fulu is quite imaginative about his musical ‘instruments’.

  2. ruralguy says:

    Sounds like paradise. Coffee at 5 am, a pleasant drive to a Mexican Lake, then a pre-dawn stroll with beautiful vistas. The Climate looks perfect there. You’re quite not there though — try the coffee with a slice of pie.

  3. Daddio7 says:

    You could put most of the self proclaimed White nationalists on a couple of school buses. Every white person who is not bowing down to the BLM crowd is not a white nationalist.

    • Agree: ruralguy
  4. The trouble with conservatives is:
    A. They think that multi-billionaires are just the cats pajamas, and, of course, have “earned” every cent of their many many billions of dollars, dollar by dollar, and, of course, have only our best interests at heart.
    B. They think blacks are rich because they get “welfare.”

    Otherwise, they’re fine.

    • Replies: @ruralguy
  5. orionyx says:

    I have never encountered Fulu Miziki before. I guess they dress like that so that other Congolese, thinking those colors characteristic of toxic animals and plants, won’t eat them. As if the noise they make isn’t repellent enough.
    They’re a disgrace to Africa, which has plenty of real, and really good, music.
    You can do better, Fred.

    • Replies: @Anon
  6. Phredphan says:

    Darn right the virus is getting tedious. Great article as usual, Fred!

  7. Nice one, Fred. Sounds like the good life!

    Also, I reckon Fulu Miziki moonlight as an Infantry squad. Apart from Blondie, those lads and their antics are ringing all sorts of bells.

    p.s. the guy playing the chain owns this, as far as I’m concerned

  8. Franz says:

    I like to horrify White Nationalists, WhyNats, who annoy me by writing sententious agitprop about …

    The few WNs in the USA are mostly writing about their own country. As in, the one that existed a few years ago went missing. Maybe for good.

    FWIW, there’s only a few, and they’re sounding more and more like old lefties anymore. Fred, you’re old enough to remember Convergence Theory, right? As in capitalism becoming more like communism and vice versa, and anti-racists taking up where the old Klan left off as old time bigots become the only remaining voices of reason.

    Well thanks to total homeland misrule, it’s actually become true.

  9. meamjojo says:

    Liking Fulu Miziki a lot! An appropriate look for post-apocalypse.

    Speaking of diversity… We weren’t? Sure we were. CNN strives hard to come across as wokier than everyone else and yet:

    Take a look at the photos on the CNN Leadership page at the link below. See anything that stands out?

    Maybe the fact that of the 15 Leaders featured here, all are “a whiter shade of pale” white except for one lone black woman, whose title is “Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, WarnerMedia News and Sports”. And given that her title includes the word “Sports”, which as we all know, is heavily black populated, one has to wonder how much of a token hire she was to appease her constituency? Otherwise, CNN could have scored a perfect 100% white Leadership team!

    Seems like CNN needs to practice some additional racial diversification.

    https://www.cnn.com/specials/more/cnn-leadership

  10. gatopreto says:

    Greetings, Fred! I was surprised the usual horde of bigots was not attacking your wife. Maybe it was because you aplacated their bloodlust by confessing you are married not a Mexican lady but to “an exotic Latina”. Why am I, at 86, still disappointed by the humans?

  11. ruralguy says:
    @obwandiyag

    Your perspective seems clouded by resentment towards rich people, not by any rational insight into how conservatives think.

    Most rich people actually live very frugally. I’m not a billionaire, but very well off. I shop at Goodwill and Walmart for clothes. Most of my clothes are 10 to 20 years old. My wife and I drive old cars, which my children refer to as junkers. They are embarrassed to be seen in them. Their friends’ parents have nice new cars, but all those family’s don’t make much money and likely bought them on credit. My wife and I could live very rich lifestyles, but that doesn’t fit our personalities. We want our children to live frugally, not as spoiled rich kids. That’s the way most rich people live. They didn’t get rich by being spendthrifts. Most got rich by being frugal. Many of us like the independence money gives us, but feel burdened by big houses, cars, and too many possessions. Your image of rich people is likely shaped by the rich spendthrifts in Hollywood and among celebrities. Most of them are Liberals and Democrats. I rarely spend, investing my money. Those capital investments provide jobs for others.

    I don’t think Blacks are rich. I see them statistically as poor, prone to rash emotions, no morals, uneducated, and a nuisance.

    My views are typical of most conservatives.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  12. Great post Fred and the music video is also fun. Thanks

  13. MEH 0910 says:

    Anyway, Fulu goes to garbage dumps and finds things to make musical instruments out of

    They could put an orchestra together in Mexico:

    • LOL: Achmed E. Newman
    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  14. MEH 0910 says:

    Now you may be wondering, “Why is Fred running on about mad dusky buskers in the everloving Congo for God’s sake when he could tell us tales of death and horror and epidemic in Mexico?

  15. @ruralguy

    Oh, you poor poor pitiful suffering booboisie boob.

    You fucking unbelievable hillbilly asshole. You think a couple million dollars is rich. Typical response. You are so innumerate, you don’t know what a trillion dollars is. You think it’s a guy with a McMansion and a Lexus.

    I got a question for ya. How many bricks you gotta lay to “earn” a billion dollars? Answer: you can’t. Oh, you can “make” a billion dollars. By robbing people. But “earn.” Impossible. There is no amount of work a person could do in a lifetime that is worth a billion dollars.

    You don’t understand money.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  16. ruralguy says:

    You remind me of the Red Guard youth in China during the cultural revolution. They were presumptuous and foul mouthed also, subjecting their victims whom they didn’t know to unimaginable torture.

    You know nothing about me, so how can you claim I am innumerate? I keep my mind sharp by doing several mathematical proofs every day in very advanced mathematical fields. I have several thousand pages of notes, that I’ve written over the years in advanced math, economics, advanced propulsion, many fields of physics, etc. I have written the equivalent of five books in all those fields.

    Do you have a rational understanding of money, or is it based on the emotional nonsense you are spewing? Do you have a definition of “earn” that isn’t formed from emotions or other nonsense? I have modeled international trade flows using carefully constructed statistical network models, using fundamental symmetries from Lie Groups. If your view of the world is emotion, then your perspective is worthless. Your thoughts have no more value or insight than my mindless chickens who have never put together a rational thought.

  17. Anon[191] • Disclaimer says:
    @orionyx

    “They’re a disgrace to Africa, which has plenty of real, and really good, music.”

    Oh, Please!

  18. Fakeologist says: • Website

    Great commentary today Fred.
    How’s the rains this year?

  19. @ruralguy

    I have modeled international trade flows using carefully constructed statistical network models, using fundamental symmetries from Lie Groups.

    Is this a “gauge theory” approach, or something else?

    • Replies: @ruralguy
  20. @obwandiyag

    You don’t understand money.

    You don’t understand why it is the likes of you who are marched into the fields at gunpoint.

    • Agree: ruralguy
  21. ruralguy says:
    @Mitchell Porter

    Unfortunately, these transactions/flows lack the structure for that: no discernible invariance, no Lagrangian, no gauge field, no connection, nor potential, nor any transformation rules. So, I break down the network adjacency flows into a modified Lie Algebra bracket, that allows extract of symmetries in a modified Campbell-Baker-Hausdorff expression. But, the key difference between physical phenomena and these economic flows is this structure co-evolves with its own elements. That is somewhat the basis of the newer field of evolutionary game theory.

  22. Ragno says:

    No need for combativeness; this is one of Fred’s koom-ba-ya posts, in which everyone on our spinning mudball is worthy of deference and respect except whites who stay up nights worrying about their homeland collapsing into Marxist chaos, enforced at gunpoint by the cops they commiserate with and for (but who have proven time and again they’d turn their arms on law-abiding white citizens if that suddenly became the price of hanging on to those juicy pensions).

    As for those Federal troops and military units that every Blue Checkmark pompously declares must never ever ever EVER be deployed against the citizenry, well, just wait until the hand up Joe Biden’s back starts ‘transforming’ the remains of our once-Constitutional Republic via the magic power of AFFH. Once the Evil Party gives the all-clear to officially pacify the heartland being ‘transformed’, your head will spin from all the domestic military deployment!

    But like I said, there’s no need for all this contentious pushing and shoving over a Fred Reed column. We’re never more than a few weeks away from one of Fred’s practically-patented Blacks Are Antithetical To Civilized Society columns, generally following a jaw-dropping summary of skyrocketing violent crime stats, a first-person dispatch from Battlefield: Chicago, or a particularly-unsettling WorldStar Hip-Hop video somebody sent him. So save your infighting for that column……particularly as, shortly afterwards, he’ll once again scatter the breadcrumb trail by sneeringly referring to apocryphal stories of white lunatics (today’s is about some woman who got a phone stuck in her cooch).

    What – me, WhyNat? Never! – I just don’t want to be near or around los negritos…… andale, andale!

    • LOL: Bragadocious
  23. Savageone says:

    Paul Simon would be rolling in his grave if he were dead after what Fulu has done to World Beat music! Remember when he brought Ladysmith Black Mombasa to our shores and showed us what really good and imaginative African music could sound like? That video looks like performers at a low-budget Polynesian Lua in Nigeria. Truly frightening.

  24. @MEH 0910

    I mean, really, really, Laughed! Out! Loud!

    Good one.

    • Replies: @bluedog
  25. Kumbaya, indeed, per Ragno, but there’s another thing missing. He likes life in Latin America, India, China, and SE Asia, he says. It might be different, Fred, to live as a Latin American in Latin America, a .Indian in India, a Chinaman in China and a SE Asian in SE Asia, rather than an expat living off the US $ in places where it still buys you a lot.

    I know I told you before, but don’t go depending on those checks to be worth much after the dollar goes down the toilet. Put your money in other assets before then. (You didn’t say whether you bought or you rent that house in the gated neighborhood, but buying with the wife’s name, lest they nationalize it, would have been a good idea.)

  26. bluedog says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Well bless my soul you actually laughed out loud,most would have doubted that you could, for as a rule you have some asshole remark to make,so we can calk this one up or your next comment which fits that mode……

    • LOL: Achmed E. Newman
  27. MEH 0910 says:

  28. Enjoyed this little slice of life from South of the Border. Not a fan of the music, but that’s on me.

  29. Herzog says:

    Anybody got any idea what Fulu might mean? As to Miziki, I would be surprised if it weren’t indiginized music, via French musique.

    Yes, Ladysmith Black Mambazo played in another league. But why not have some innocent Congolose Minimal Punk fun along the way too? Also, I liked the semi-fat chick-in-chick-costume hopping chickishly around. And when she then did her broad-mouthed — and probably foul-mouthed — screech: Boy, what a lesson in lower end womanhood!

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
  30. MEH 0910 says:
    @Herzog

    https://themusicman.uk/fulu-miziki/

    Fulu Miziki, which roughly translates into “music from the garbage”, is the name of a band founded by musical activist Piscko Crane. Members of the band only play instruments that are made from items that have been recycled from the garbage.

    https://www.africanews.com/2019/06/24/drc-s-fulu-musiki-band-s-garbage-music//

    The particularity of Fulu Muziki, which translates as “music from the garbage” in local Lingala, is that rather than buying instruments, members of the group create their own objects from waste.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingala#Characteristics_and_usage

    According to some linguists, Lingala is a Bantu-based creole of Central Africa[7] with roots in the Bobangi language.[8] In its basic vocabulary, Lingala has many borrowings from various other languages, such as French, Spanish, Portuguese, and English.

    In practice, the extent of borrowing varies widely with speakers of different regions (commonly among young people), and during different occasions.

    • Replies: @Herzog
  31. Herzog says:
    @MEH 0910

    Thanks, mate, appreciate it. My lazy ass was too, well, lazy, counting once again on the kindness of strangers — and boom!, there it materializes.

    By the way, have you seen Kinshasa Symphony, the movie? Gentle, charming, a bit melancholy here and there. I recommend it.

    Again, thanks for your input.

    H.

  32. Tendentious use of 15-dollar words like sententious can be risky in Current Year.

    There’s a change shortage in the States.

  33. Lives in Mexico, drives a Honda… Do you hate America Fred?

  34. Pogo says:

    Why Nat? Why not?

  35. Exotic? She’s “native”, Fred. Using that sort of logic my missus, a native Thai, is exotic as well. That would be a simple truth as I’m sure you and I can agree.

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