Monalia's World

Observations on a New Life in Spain

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Karafa ( African artist living in Barcelona)

7 July, 2008 (10:10) | Living in Europe | By: admin

Marta’s boyfriend Karafa has recently moved here from Senegal. He is a multi-talented and charismatic character, not shy at all. For someone who has only lived in this country for few months now, he appears to be very well adjusted. He makes ornate African drums called Jembe, tall with wooden spikes holding the skins tightly to the wooden shell. These drums get an amazing range of tones from high timbale-like to huge sonorous deep tones. Karafa has already picked up 2 students he’s teaching to play. He also had 2 art openings this week.

We attended his Thursday night opening at the Barceloneta Civic Center along with Marta’s loyal group of friends. Karafa is a prolific and inspired painter; what he lacks in subtlety he makes up for in master strokes and bold content. Mark was so impressed with one of Karafa’s paintings that he bought it. The painting speaks to him of the dragon within. It is of a calm subdued human or man sitting on a bench with a huge red fire-breathing dragon emerging from the side of his body, it reminds Mark of himself. I agree, the colors will look good on the wall of our patio interior.

Saturday we were invited to Marta’s for a lunch and impromptu musical rehearsal. What we didn’t comprehend was that we were actually rehearsing for a short performance at Karafa’s art opening in nearby Llinares at 7:30 that evening. We had “paella Africano” prepared by Karafa and a mixed salad with fruits and nuts prepared by Nicole. Yum! It was Marta’s core group, including Ignacio, an Argentinian horse veterinarian who is also brilliant musician and songwriter, one of the best we’ve met since moving here. The four of us musicians (Karafa, Mark, Ignacio and I) worked up a few songs, including the tango I sing called “Caminitos” that almost every Spanish speaking person knows. This Carlos Gardel hit from the 1930’a appeals to all generations of Spanish speaking people.

When we actually performed our songs later at Karafa’s opening we played our 5 songs to 6 elderly ladies, all of them with canes or walkers. They were delighted.


Tomorrow we are off to Bordeaux on a road trip for a week, Mark, Nicole, Haka, Moki (Nicoe’s dog) and I are all renting a car. We are all nvited to go celebrate the 50th birthday of a friend. We will return to Barcelona on Bastille Day. (July 14)