La Blogothèque

Yellow Ostrich, Traffique, High Life

In November 2009 Kenny Laubbaucher of Invisible Children reached out to Chryde regarding an idea for a documentary film project set in Uganda. The idea was to facilitate a cultural exchange of sorts, pulling together a few bands and traveling with them to Gulu.

Little over a year later we are on our way to making this film a reality. Together, and with the help of many friends and supporters, earlier this year we managed to raise initial funding via a Kickstarter campaign. Several months later we were awarded as recipients of the Lincoln Fellowship Grant, an incredible honor and additional financial support, getting us even closer to production.

And this October, in an effort to further promote the project and to secure the remaining funds needed, La Blogotheque and Invisible Children teamed up with the CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival. The resulting showcase, featuring Yellow Ostrich , Peter & Wolf’s Traffique and Doug Shaw’s High Life , was outstanding. Yellow Ostrich, with their young faces and fresh sounds, kicked off what we all quickly realized was going to be an incredible show. Just after we think we understand what these two guys are all about, a few more voices offer back-up support and a saxophone throws us for a rather spectacular loop.

We settle into these new sounds and then – as quickly as it started – the set is over with. Red and Traffique, rather appropriately dubbed “Gender Infinity” for the night, step into the spot lights and create a whole new ambiance of weird/beautiful. What was calmed and settled by Yellow Ostrich is now turned upside down and inside out via Red’s sounds and movements. We stare in amazement at the group and at each other, silently agreeing this is one great show.

Red finishes up and Doug Shaw takes the stage. We drag a couch from the back of the room and people take a seat; others gather on the floor nearby. Doug turns a few dials on his mysterious shruti box and passes it to his band mate, and then he starts to sing.

Eyes widen. Jaws drop. My stomach clenches and I get a lump in my throat. I often say that what I know about music I learn from Chryde and La Blogotheque; I must admit this was one of my most favorite lessons yet. Doug is from England and, unlike a lot of other musicians, you can certainly detect an accent when he sings. The words coming out of his mouth mean something, and the way he projects himself, and that sound that he makes – how can we describe that? – mean even more. We all watch in amazement as he sings one song after the next. And just when we think it’s all over, not wanting to leave and a little weary about getting up from our seats, Doug puts down his guitar, stands up and empties his lungs.

The video, shot and edited with the help of our good friends at Foglight Films, beautifully encapsulates the evening. We owe tennis-table club SPiN New York a big thank you for sharing their space, and we want to extend another major merci to everyone who joined us for the show and donated to the cause. It was great to be amongst friends, old and new, listening to a collection of sounds and sharing unique moments, all in a humble effort to make the world a better place.

Due to the instability of the East African region and recent terrorist attacks, production for “Take Away Film Uganda”, which was originally slated for September 2010, has been delayed until 2011. For more information about “Take Away Film Uganda” and about how you can get involved, please check out the site or [contact us->].