Burkina Faso Has Its First Flash Mob

Today, I participated, along with our choir, in a flash mob at the International School of Ouagadougou’s winter fund-raising fair. We were all lounging around the various vendor booths pretending to shop (some of us were really shopping, which made for some confusion when the music started and people rushed up trailing purchases and vendors behind them). Then, this guy

selfie ISO choir

Uwe, a Danish guy who sings with us and can also play the sax, started playing “Deck the Halls” on his sax. A couple of us started singing, and the rest of the group joined in phrase by phrase. Then, we went through the tune a second time, in parts, then, we jumped into a jazzy arrangement (from something called “The Cooler Side of Yuletide”) which has to be the hardest part I ever had to learn in choir. The tenor part (I’m a tenor in this choir) is really high and also really non-intuitive. It’s jazz after all.

And we had a blast. Plenty of people had their phones out but I haven’t had a chance to get any videos or photos. Here is a version of the same song off YouTube. We didn’t have any 300 people, more like 30, but we sounded at least 1/10 as good as these guys…

It was a blast. Choir is fun again.

In other news, the leadership of the MPP, the newly-elected president’s party, gave a news conference today and they had a lot of nice things to say about the Sankariste party. Since the Sankariste leadership is trying to preserve the legacy of Thomas Sankara, who was killed by supporters of Blaise Compaoré during the coup in 1987, and the MPP leadership were, until about a year and a half ago, loyal supporters of Compaoré, it seems like strange bedfellows. But presumably there is some sort of deal in the works or at least hoped for. The Sankaristes have five seats in the Assembly to add to the MPP’s 55, bringing them within four seats of forming a government. There are a number of smaller parties who could make up the missing seats and a couple of them got some nice howdys thrown their way during the press conference as well. I think the MPP would really really like to have a government ready to be sworn in right after the presidential inauguration next week.

And they also make a specific and personal invitation to Cote d’Ivoire’s newly-reelected president, Alhassane Ouattara, to attend the inauguration. Ouattara was elected in 2010, and the previous incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo refused to surrender his seat. A civil war broke out, in which Burkinabè troops sent by Compaoré played an important role in finally making Ouattara president. Compaoré is presently in Cote d’Ivoire under Ouattara’s protection. So it would be a big deal if Ouattara were to come here to bless the transition and the presidency of Kaboré. I’m not imagining that it would mean a change in Compaorés situation, though plenty of people here would like to see him sent back for trial. However, the risk of some sort of counter-insurrection would certainly be lessened if Ouattara made his support for the transition here clear. And the CDP, Compaoré’s party, did get 18 seats in the legislature so they are not an insignificant force even now, after all that has happened.


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