Amoeblog

Happy Discovery Day -- Real Geographic Discoveries of the Modern Age

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 13, 2014 04:42pm | Post a Comment

I will not make the argument that Columbus's arrival in the New World was insignificant merely because he was an absolutely awful person or because he didn't actually discover anything (which he himself maintained, claiming until his death that he'd merely found a different route to Asia). But think about this before you dismiss -- before Columbus, avocado, bell peppers, blueberries, cashews, cassava root, chili peppers, chocolate, cocaine, gourds, maize, peanuts, pecans pineapples, pumpkins, squash, tobacco, tomatoes, and vanilla were all unknown in the Old World and alcohol, apples, bananas, barley, cheese, coffee, mango, onions, rice, tea, and turnips, and wheat were unknown in the Americas. Imagine an existence without any of those and you can hopefully begin to get a taste of the importance of the Columbian Exchange. Imagine Italian cuisine without tomato sauce or gnocchi and you can't help but wonder if this is why Columbus is so dear to many Italians. Imagine, on the other hand, genocide, slavery, and old world diseases and you'll understand why he's even more hated by many others. 





 
We all know now that Columbus wasn't the first European to visit the Americas either -- but neither was Leif Erikson. Europeans had been living in the North American territory of Greenland since sometime between 876 and 932 CE when Gunnbjorn Ulfsson was blown off course and sited the world's largest island. Around 978, Snæbjorn Galti was the probably first European to set food on Greenland but we rightly don't make a big deal out of that since there were already Inuits living there and before them, an earlier people who'd arrived and abandoned the country -- and that cultural exchange was by most measures, less impactful on the planet.


The Divine Comedy - "A Seafood Song"

Greenland, of course, is just as much a part of North America as are the Bahamas (where Columbus landed) as are the US and Canada -- or Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Clipperton Island, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Navassa Island, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Saba, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, and United States Virgin Islands, for that matter.



Crime & the City Solution - "The Bride Ship"
 

The fact is that people have been exploring for roughly 1.8 million since Homo erectus first caught that ramblin' fever years ago and identifying the first European to do something is a silly pursuit. Exploration and adventuring, on the other hand, is vital and something done by all good people (and plenty of bad). Most of the inhabitable world was discovered in antiquity but in the post-Classical age, new lands were still being discovered by humans around the planet -- especially Arab, Austronesian, and European seafarers. In the 15th Century, the more isolated islands of the Atlantic were still being added to maps with some regularity and discovery of islands in the Arctic and Southern Oceans continued into the 20th Century. Here then is a look at some of the real discoveries of the modern age -- previously uninhabited lands just waiting for humans to despoil them.





*****

MADEIRA

Madeira (image source: World for Travel)


Madeira was first claimed by Portuguese sailors in the service of Infante D. Henrique in 1419, who were driven by storm to an island harbor which they called Porto Santo. Settlement of the island began in 1420 and by 1433 it was known as Ilha da Madeira.



THE AZORES

Azorean chamaritta 

The Azores were known of in the 14th Century but humans didn't begin to colonize them until 1433. Before arriving, sheep were deposited to establish a food source for the colonists, who included Sephardic Jews, Moorish prisoners and African slaves, as well as Flemish, French, and Spanish colonists. Nowadays there are about a quarter of a million residents of the country.



CAPE VERDE

Morna performed in the documentary Dix petits grains de terre

The volcanic islands of the Cape Verde archipelago were discovered by Italian and Portuguese navigators around 1456. The first settlement, founded in 1462, was the first European settlement in the tropics. Located off the coast of West Africa, Cape Verde's economy was predictably built on the back of the slave trade but the African population was joined by Jewish refugees from the Inquisition, as well as Dutch, French, British, Arabs, Chinese, Indians, Indonesians, and other settlers.

Krip-Hop Nation's Seed Growing Roots in Africa by Guest Amoeblogger Leroy F. Moore

Posted by Billyjam, June 6, 2013 09:00am | Post a Comment

Prudence Mabhena  "Ipi Ntombi"

Ever since I was ten years old I wanted to visit South Africa.  I was involved in the anti-apartheid movement in the US and always thought about my brothers and sisters with disabilities who lived under apartheid and even wrote a paper in high school but back then and even now there is very little information here in the US about South Africans with disabilities.   Now I’m an adult in my forties and still haven’t made that trip to South Africa, however nowadays because of the internet, my journalism and the creation of Krip-Hop Nation, I’m getting closer to finally making that trip to South Africa.   My interest now is connecting disabled artists/activists/poets/musicians who are African Americans to our brothers and sisters who share the same talents and identities in South Africa under Krip-Hop Nation and an organization in South Africa.  The bigger picture/plan is to have an event and networking session in South Africa between Krip-Hop Nation and South African organizations that share our mission. 

As a journalist, I kept in contact with some musicians/poets/activists in South Africa by interviewing them for my columns.  In 2009 I interviewed South African Disabled Musician's Association and in 2010 I interviewed South African Deejay Kabila, and recently I interviewed poet  Mak Manaka.   I was one of the first journalists with a disability in the USA to write about the now famous  African musicians with disabilities like Oscar winner Prudence Mabhena (see video above) and award winning Staff Benda Bilili of the Congo.  Mabhena is even writing for my Krip-Hop book. Krip-Hop Nation’s internet radio started by Binki Woi of Germany has played the music of musicians with disabilities in South Africa.  We are excited about these connections and with our new partnership with G-Tazz Records and the Zululand Gospel Choir of South Africa (as seen in video below). 

Continue reading...

South(ern) Africa's Indigenous People and their Culture Presented in Music and Film

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 19, 2010 12:16pm | Post a Comment


Dusty Bushmen toddlers

I'm not a big spectator of sports (or player of them, for that matter) but it seems that events like The World Cup and The Olympics are often used to spotlight various aspects of the host country's culture. I did read one such article about South Africa in National Geographic but I haven't seen anything during the current cup about the indigenous population. OK, so maybe there aren't any bushmen on the pitch or in the stands but... well, I don't care... I started the blog entry a while ago and I'm just trying to make it relevant whilst South Africa's on our collective minds -- especially since Bafana Bafana appear to be on their way out of the cup (except as hosts) unless something miraculous happens.

 

A BIT ABOUT TERMINOLOGY

Many object to the use of the term "Bushmen," which I understand. Saying Bushmen women certainly seems odd. It's imperfect but widely accepted and used among the people it describes, just like black, white, Asian or Indian (for Native Americans). The ancient common culture of all Bushmen groups is retroactively known as Sangoan, although we have no idea what they called themselves. Capoid is a term used by some... chiefly people who throw around words like Negroid, Caucasoid and Mongoloid in polite conversation. Khoisan is often used but "san" means "outsider" in the Khoi language and is therefore considered offensive by the very people it's meant to describe. Khoi Khoi is literally, "People People." The Dutch called the Khoi "Hottentots," meaning "stutterer" or "stammerer" -- a reference to the array of clicks in their language. The so-called San were generally distinguished by whites as bushmen, although now "Bushmen" is the most commonly used generic term for the entire group, so for lack of a better word, Bushmen it is.          

Continue reading...

Los Angeles' Pan-African Film Festival ...a year heavy on Nollywood and South African films

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 12, 2010 03:46pm | Post a Comment
Pan African Film and Arts Festival
Los Angele
s’s Pan-African Film Festival is currently in effect (February 10-17). I have a long-lasting love-hate relationship with it. On the one hand, their website (despite improvements this year) remains hard to navigate, is rife with typos, incomplete information and omissions. In other words, it’s inexcusably bad. How about a calendar, folks? 

In addition, every year I take issue with the selection of films. The programmers have a very odd definition of “Pan-African.” Last year was the worst, with the focus on the African diaspora coming at the expense of even a single African feature. Thankfully, this year there are several African features but still some questionable choices. It’s nice to see films about Africa’s many-but-usually-ignored non-black people, such as Finemachiyamoché, about Moroccan Jews, and Florida Road, starring members of South Africa’s sizable south Asian population. On the other hand, Forgotten Bird of Paradise, about Papua is, regardless of its possible merits, an embarrassing example of the organizers' colorist, transracialist equation of African-ness with pigmentation rather than actual African ancestry. The inclusion of an Iranian film, The Stoning of Soraya M., is a real head-scratcher. Are they equating Islam with African-ness now? Another odd choice is Darfur, directed by German hack Uwe Boll (BloodRayne 3, House of the Dead, Postal Zombie Massacre and other garbage).

Continue reading...

If You Don't Like Funerals Don't Kick Sand in Ninja's Face

Posted by Smiles Davis, February 11, 2010 03:10pm | Post a Comment

Ever heard the song "Shackles on My Feet" by RJ’s Latest Arrival? There’s a famous line in that song that goes, “I wanna hit the DJ with a baseball bat.” The truth is, we’ve all been there, we’ve all at some point or another, maybe even for just a millisecond expressed similar sentiments towards a loathsome music selector. Every once in a leap year the very opposite happens-- something new raises my hair, slaps me upside the head and forces me to pay attention. It’s tough to be original when everything has already been done. I’m so thankful DJ is what I write on the line next to the question, “What do you do for a living?” It’s completely unrestricting; I’m the driver of this ship, I can explore whatever I want. Recently, like an hour ago, I discovered Die Antwoord. Are you familiar? Let me just tell you the story gets tricky somewhere in the middle, but basically the Ali G of South Africa started a group with some of his cronies, and, as you can probably imagine, it’s brilliant, like sucking on a lollipop and finally making it to the gooey center. 

Die Antwoord is a “white-trash” personified, 90’s coat tailing, self proclaimed “zef” rap trio consisting of  Front man Ninja aka Max Normal, DJ Hi-Tek and then there’s Yo-landi Vi$$er. If Peaches and Bjork married and had a little blonde rapping baby girl, Yo-landi Vi$$er would be it. Together the ‘three-piece rap-rave’ is like The Three Stooges meets Napoleon Dynamite meets Dirt Nasty. It’s good, damn good, but...there’s always a but: “Amy Winehouse can sing and write, but…” “R Kelly is one of the greatest R&B producers of our generation, but…” and the list goes on and on. Die Antwoord is one big walking farce and folks don’t really know how to take to it. I say to that, it’s not Calculus people. Just look at the success of already establish tongue-in-cheek groups like Lonely Island and Flight of The Concords, Genius! If there’s one thing we’ve learned as a culture in the history of everything, it’s that good things always come with an abundance of haters.

I’ve read some comments on blogs implicating the eradication of Die Antwoord in the near future, saying things like ‘they’re done before they even got started cause it’s a joke’. Really, haters? I like my music to be all encompassing, to uphold all the elements that separate good music from great music. There’s music for the sake of making music, for the sake of art, forget the image and the accolades, i.e., Cody Chestnut. Then there’s music that incorporates it all, tantalizing ever nerve in your body from head to toe, from the image to the persona, from the visuals to the message, and of course, from the lyrics to production. Die Antwoord is the ambassador for all encompassing and satire only plays in their favor, especially in a world, in an over-saturated industry plenty lacking in that department. Let them be silly dilly till the cows come home, seems pretty authentic to me. Isn’t that what we all want, a little reality? Sorry to get all Bob Lefsetz on you, but I’d believe that to be false if companies like 51 Minds and Bunim Murray weren’t so successful, but even they have their niche, they’ve carved a lane so wide, so deep for themselves you can see it from outer space. Hell, even the Home & Garden channel has reality shows, in this day and age it’s suicidal not to. But I digress; Die Antwoord is the Truth. So, let the parody unfold, we could all use a good laugh. Henry Miller said Genius was dead, who in the world ever said comedy was? So, tap into your inner zef and embrace it if you know what’s good for ya! If you want to see more, check out what happened when Die Antwoord visited the Hollywood Amoeba store and showed us some of what they were buying right here! Till next time…



Max Normal



<<  1  2  >>  NEXT