I miss going to Sam the Record Man to search through the various levels finding finds. There was an excellent World Music section on the second floor which is where I discovered Aster Aweke, an Ethiopian singer living in the USA. I was willing to take a chance on a $1.99 cassette of her first lp.
She’s been fairly compared to Aretha Franklin with her resonant soulful voice. Now I don’t speak or understand many other language beyond clumsy French and corazón roto Spanish, so I can’t tell you what she sings about but I like it. I’m open to letting the music function without the importance of the lyric – with English I can’t avoid sometimes feeling forced into an emotional response.
I have three of her recordings. Aster ( that cassette replaced & on a mp3 collection of Janis Ian), Kudu (a stand alone, as it were) and Sugar (a live recording on an mp3 collection of Buffy St. Marie). More about Janis and Buffy when I get to them on the shelf.
What grabbed me about her, besides the voice, was the horn section – it reminded me of Osibisa (an African band – more about them when I get to the ‘O’s.) In fact she does a few classic African folk songs that Osibisa also recorded. Woyaya for one. She’s available on iTunes.
I, Robot Mother
“How many times do I have to tell you to turn that racket down?” Val’s mother shouted up the stairs.
“Sorry Mother.” Val cringed as she heard her mother come up to her room.
“Are you ready?” her mother asked.
“Oh those shoes are sweet, but you know, I think with some little bows of them they’d be even sweeter. What do you think Val?”
“I’m sure you’re right.” Val slipped off her shoes and handed them to her mother.
Having a Martha Stewart android for a mother was every girl’s dream but if they knew what it was really like they would know it for the nightmare it really was. Val still shuddered at the memory of her mother covering her school binders with kindergarten drawings she had made. Just the thing every high school girl loves to be reminded of. She cursed the day her father brought home the android.
“I’ll just get Karen to do that, shall I? Karen!” Martha shouted down the stairs.
Karen was this week’s assistant. Val was glad she was no longer the one who had to carry out her robot mother’s minute directions. She had hoped it would mean she and her mother could just do mother daughter things that weren’t for some TV program or book but that hadn’t happened yet.
“Yes Madam Stewart.” Karen appeared. She had sequin stars stuck to her chin, a streak of red paint in her hair and gobs of white plaster all over her sweater.
“How are you coming with those baby jumper flower pots?”
“They’ll be ready for Val’s show and tell.”
“Good. Now get a hot glue gun and stick some of those old Christmas bows on these shoes. If they look okay don’t forget to tell me so we can put them in the school’s Christmas show.”
“Yes Madam Stewart.”
“Now Val I’d like you to try on this coat.”
“It looks like the living room carpet.”
“It is Val. We got rid of that old carpet but I thought it would make a darling coat.”
“I hope you vacuumed it first.”
“Of course I did. Didn’t we Karen?”
“Yes Madam Stewart, I steam cleaned it along with four dozen potatoes for the Thanksgiving salad.”
“Good. I do think we’ll have time to refinish the frames on your glasses now Val. Would you like a faux marble finish or perhaps something fun in polka dots.”
“Mother I like them the way they are.”
“Oh, don’t be so silly. I know you are just joking anyway. Now I hope you like these bracelets. I made them out of old milk bottles.”
“Yes, mother they are simply lovely. Now can I get my shoes on and get out of here.”
“What time is your young gentle man picking you up?”
Just then the door bell rang.
“Right now.” Val rushed down glad for the opportunity to escape from the house.
“Val here’s a forget-me-not ring I made from some old braces and teeth. It’s the prefect friendship ring. Don’t you think Brad will love it?”
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