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Be a part of Migritude's journey.
No contribution is too small - or too large. $2 buys coffee for a volunteer. $15 rents a rehearsal studio for an hour. $100 covers 2 hours of lighting / tech / set design. $500 helps fly Shailja to international festivals!!

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bravo, Finns

I'm a wimp about cold.

Although I love rain. I lean out of doors and windows, take ecstatic gulps of moisture-drenched air.

I just don't like being rained on by cold rain. Or blown on by cold winds.

So I was deeply impressed that over a hundred people sat or stood in the cold rain to watch me perform on the Mekong stage of Helsinki's World Village Festival yesterday.

Thank you, all of you. You've yanked my weather-courage up at least two notches :-)

Signs and Portents

Ten days to the world script premiere of Bwagamoyo (Migritude II) on June 3rd.

This is when I start looking for Signs to calm my nerves.

Cracks in the pavement.

Phases of the moon.

Two days ago, a Kenyan friend told me she'll arrive in Bagamoyo, the town in Tanzania, on June 3rd. Sign.

This morning, I got the poster for the Kenya Gender Festival, opening on June 3, in Nairobi. Earlier this year, the organizers asked me to feature in the opening plenary, and create an arts and performance program for the festival. Sadly, I had to decline, as I was going to be in Sweden. But I remember thinking:

Wouldn't it be fabulous to debut Bwagamoyo at the Kenya Gender Festival?


In the end, a Sign is anything that reminds me that I'm connected. That my work is one dance in a huge global choreography, larger than I can imagine.

What a relief.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Poetry is the world's most beautiful language

was my response to journalist Johanna Nykopp on Wednesday, when she asked me which language I found most beautiful.

She made that the title of the interview, published online today in Fifi, the web edition of the popular culture and politics journal, Voima:

Shailja Patel: Runous on maailman kaunein kieli

No Peace In Kenya Without Justice

is the headline of the in-depth interview with me that's now up on Finland's NGO / development / social justice portal, KEPA.

It's in Finnish - read it here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

wood, water, stone

An aerial view of Hanaholmen, the Swedish-Finnish Cultural Center, on the tiny island of Hanasaari, where I'm staying this week.

Down at the shoreline, clear gray-green ripples lap the pebbles with a tenderness, a liquid musicality, that is inexpressibly lovely. Everywhere my eyes turn, they feast on textures of green, delicate blues, layered into shades of brown wood and weathered stone.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

interview among orchids

My first interview of the day yesterday, for Finland's Swedish-language radio station, took place in the tropical greenhouse of Helsinki's Botanic Gardens. The journalist, Marit Lindqvist, asked thoughtful, perceptive questions as I revelled in orchids. Scents of bloom and decay wafted in the steamy air around us, the song of dripping water serenaded us.

The interview is in English, with Swedish translation. You can listen to it here.
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