Putting things into perspective

Photography exhibitions (and more broadly, exhibitions in general) are more often than not, monologues that tend to present a view of the world that emanates from the perspective of their perfomers and the organisers.

There is, however, an ever-increasing ambition to involve audiences more in the performance dialogue – an intent if you like, to bridge the gap between performer and audience. Yet in a world as replete with diversity as ours, how does one go about doing so in practice?

Olympus’ Perspective Playground is one example of an exhibition that shatters the boundaries between performer and audience, so much so that I would scarcely call it an exhibition. Held in numerous European cities, Perspective Playground is an interactive experience that allows audiences to borrow an Olympus camera of their choice and wander through a series of art installations.

I’ll let the pictures that my girlfriend and I took at Copenhagen’s Perpective Playground edition speak for themselves. As a published photographer and performance designer, naturally, this was an environment I felt very inspired in. With this said, the installation is truly is a work of art that is accessible to all audiences, from beginners to world-class pros and everything in between.

See more picture from the #perspectiveplayground photo stream on Instagram here

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Ten things we learned at this year’s Roskilde Festival

Among our findings: a heavy police presence might have resulted in a fall in crime, rap might have displaced rock as the festival’s new darling, and the Orange Feeling is alive and kicking!

Roskilde Festival 2017 was rainy and rowdyRoskilde Festival 2017 was rainy and rowdy (Picture: Krists Luhaers // @Kristsll)

1 The police meant business

IMG_1569There was a palpable police presence at this year’s Roskilde Festival (photo Allan Kortbaek / Mutuk5)

This year’s Roskilde Festival had a heavy police presence in and around the festival. We saw sniffer dogs, police men with machine guns at the East entrance (a first) and patrol vehicles around the camping grounds.

2 The crime stats were lower

IMG_1589Less crimes were committed at this year’s festival than last year’s (Picture Allan Kortbaek / Mutuk5)

Six rape cases are being investigated, one more than last year’s figures. Some 130 reported thefts took place this year – significantly lower than in the last two editions of the festival, which both registered close to 800. A total 20 arrests were made this year – a number also significantly lower than in previous years. And sadly there was one death: a 24-year-old volunteer for Muskelsvindfonden who was discovered where he slept on Friday.

3 The future is nigh

IMG_1466Roskilde 2017 was a cashless affair, which was good news for payment methods such as mobile pay (Photo Allan Kortbaek / Mutuk5)

For the first time ever, Roskilde Festival was a cash-free affair, with mobile pay and credit cards the official payment mode. In general, the festival had a look and feel that was more organised than it has been in previous years. Will we soon see the implementation of digital bracelet systems that allow for pay-by-scan options and other innovative solutions?

4 It’s all about timing

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The Weeknd’s show, while epic, got off to a late start (Picture © ANSPressSocietyNews / Mr Krobath

A number of shows started later than expected – remarkably later in the case of Jamaican dancehall artist Popcaan. The announcements notifying Roskilde’s guests of the new start times were not always clear nor properly delivered.

READ MORE: Our top five Roskilde 2017 concerts in case you missed them

5 Rap is the new rock ‘n’ roll

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West Coast rapper Ice Cube was one of several hip-hop heavyweights to make his mark at Rf17 (Picture © Eva Rinaldi)

Rappers are the new rock stars (to quote Kanye West). Roskilde Festival has deep roots in rock music and has for many years been known as a rock festival. This year, the headlining names and the names creating the post-festival headlines were drawn from the more mainstream avenues of R ‘n’ B and rap – the latter of whom hogged the spotlight at Roskilde 2017.

READ MORE: Beyond Illimatic – Nas gives festival a lesson in hip-hop

6 Roskilde is (still) huge

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The crowd at The Weeknd’s concert at the Orange Stage was one of the largest ever (Photo © Krists Luhaers // @Kristsll)

Some 130,000 festival-goers, 32,000 volunteers, 180 concerts by acts from over 30 countries across nine stages. Does it sound like a party? It was! All of the profits will, as always, be donated to charity work around the world

7 The Art Zone was more accessible for all

IMG_0601-768x576Roskilde’s art zone was interactive, hazy and accessible (photo Allan Kortbaek / Mutuk5)

Art should engage, provoke and inspire. This year’s art zone had a laid-back feel to it thanks to an outdoor lounge-esque area that housed plant life, sculptures, smoke screens and other installations by artists such as Rune Bosse, Regitze Karlsen and ThinkingHand. The art zone was easy to digest and comfortable to be in.

8 Come rain or shine, the party went on

IMG_0607-768x576Roskilde 2017 will be remembered as one of the wettest in many years (photo Allan Kortbaek / Mutuk5)

Friday’s perennial downpour saw the festival grounds doused in rain for most of the day and night. In fact, the rain started falling as early as The xx’s concert on Thursday night. Out came the wellies and waterproof garments, but even they couldn’t stop the rain from seeping in here and there and dampening the atmosphere – quite literally. A river of mud and a mess of broken camping gear, mackerel cans and memorabilia were left behind – the festival will end up incinerating 2,400 tonnes of it – but the party continued well into the night.

9 #Rfheroes – there were many

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Two of this year’s heroes at Roskilde Festival (Photo Allan Kortbaek / Mutuk5)

Building on the success of last year’s event, in collaboration with the Tuborg Foundation, Roskilde Festival continued the #Rfheroes campaign – encouraging festival-goers to nominate their Roskilde heroes on Instagram. Five groups of heroes were consequently added to the Roskilde ‘Walk of fame’ brass plates. What is a hero I hear you ask? Essentially, one or more of the 130,000-strong crowd who’s walked the extra mile for the benefit of other festival-goers.

10 The Orange Feeling reigns supreme

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Rf17 was as colourful as ever as always (Photo Allan Kortbaek / Mutuk5)

So we had mixed feelings about the line-up, and there was the odd technical glitch here and there, but at the end of the day, Roskilde is still Roskilde, and befittingly ‘The Orange Feeling’ has not been compromised.

Roskilde may have diverted from its rock roots in an increasingly competitive local festival market in which booking the biggest names can be a tussle, but there can be no questions asked about the quality of the performances of those booked.

We sat on the shoulders of strangers and danced together under a darkened sky, drank warm coffee with lovers and friends and bonded through the power of music and art. This was our Orange Feeling and we suspect there are a few out there who may have similar sentiments.

Roskilde 2017: Not quite an avalanche – but close enough in the downpour

4 out of 6 stars. Original article written for The Copenhagen Post, available here.

Aussie sample kings, The Avalanches played a blend of music to suit all tastes (Photo Ercosid) Aussie sample kings, The Avalanches played a blend of music to suit all tastes (Photo Ercosid)

Australian sample kings The Avalanches rolled onto a drenched Apollo stage at Roskilde Festival facing a crowd that had endured one of the wettest days in modern memory at the annual event. Unfazed, the iconic Aussies, armed with the talents of Baltimore rap starlet Spank Rock and the moxie of vocalist Eliza Wolfgramm took to the stage backed by a witty, quirky, peculiar, lovable mash-up of sampled sounds.Not quite an avalanche
It was always going to be a hit or miss affair, as the torrential summer rain wept down, unrelenting against a backdrop of mud and wasted figures clad in wellies and waterproof garments. Under the circumstances, The Avalanches just about managed to get the evening’s festivities started with a show that began in lamentably inaccessible fashion (for all those for whom their music was unfamiliar). While seminal tunes such as ‘Frank Sinatra’ are indeed recognisable, their repetitive verses could arguably have been cut to get the fire burning sooner.

The show turned in the right direction, however, with a sparkling rendition of iconic cover track ‘Guns of Brixton’, which saw Wolfgramm swing a baseball bat in tandem with the music – a direct reference to the Brixton riots of the 1980s, epitomised with great effect by The Clash, who lay claim to the original track. This being Denmark in 2017, few recognised the symbolism in it, so its application was more peculiar than it was entertaining.

Perhaps The Avalanches recognised this (or their pre-planning did anyhow) – their tune selection thereafter yielded nothing but positive responses from a gumboot-clad crowd that kicked into gear with a bang. Synth delights such as ‘Subways’, the leftfield ‘Flight Tonight’ and thumping banger ‘The Radio’ definitely had the desired effect – The Avalanches owned the Apollo Stage (rain-strewn and haggled as it may have been).

What (sample) sorcery is this?
Theirs was a sampling act that spanned genres ranging from soul to hip-hop, all cooked together into one messy, blissful mash of curious tunes that got feet stompin’ and shone a welcome light onto a dark, drenched festival.

Yes, at times their profound samples made only sense to them and a handful of dedicated aficionados, but this is a band with two studio albums 16 years apart – an act whose versatility and eclecticism are a joy to behold. Bands such as Chinese Man and Hocus Pocus may have won younger audiences in recent years with their sample magic, but it is theses troubadours of the mould that leave spectators with something to think about long after the stomping, screaming and sing-alongs grind to a halt.

On Friday night they were seminal albeit patchy and inaccessible at parts. But who cares? They got a muddy party started and credit is due for this at the very least.

Roskilde 2017: Beyond Illimatic – Nas gives festival a lesson in hip-hop

6 out of 6 stars. Original article written for The Copenhagen Post, available here.

 

Nasir Bin Olu Dara aka Nas at his illimatic best (photo villunderlondon / Zoe Klinck

Nasir Bin Olu Dara aka Nas at his illimatic best (photo villunderlondon / Zoe Klinck)

Following the cancellation of hip-hop heavyweights A Tribe Called Quest ahead of this year’s Roskilde’s Festival, the honour of flying old school rap’s flag high and dry fell, rather unanimously, on the broad shoulders of New York rapper Nas.The last name to guest Roskilde’s emblematic Orange Stage on Thursday night, Nas’s show was tainted slightly by the pouring rain which, flowing steadily since the performance of British band The xx earlier in the evening, had sent one or two festival-goers to the shelter of their tents.

The king of Queens

Nas is not a man who is easily swayed, however. With an air of natural nonchalance that many of today’s hip-hop greats don’t quite have, Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones rolled calmly onto the stage sporting a pair of aviator shades on a scene that may as well have been a rap booth in Queens.

Spitting to a James Brown sample of ‘Get down’ served with complements from the erstwhile Dj Green Lantern, Nas had the Orange Stage in the palm of his hand from the get-go. In contrast to other names who’ve played on the Orange Stage this year, Nas’s show contained all the elements one would expect from a show of this size and scale. A massive signature 3-D logo revolved in the backdrop, powerful, relevant projections beamed out on either side of the stage,  and a simple stage setup threw Nas and his smooth, well-timed rap lines and tip-top sound into the limelight.

No cheese, peerless breeze
Impassioned renditions of tunage such as ‘New York State of Mind’ and ’Halftime’ cemented the bold start, before tributes to greats such as recently deceased rapper, Prodigy from Mob Deep, showed Nas at his sentimental best, devoid of the cheesiness that tends to accompany these things. Similarly, the interjections he made to his stream of tracks were simple and honest – delivered without all the references to how great the crowd was, how wonderful the festival is and the usual fluffy language that we festival-goers have been accustomed to. For Nas, a curt “Thank You” and lines referencing the power of music sufficed.

Backing the peerless on-stage prophecy, witty projections of boom boxes and city streets from the rap heyday of the early ’90s took us back to the early era of a genre that we must admit has veered so far from these veritable beginnings today it can scarcely be compared.

A lesson in hip-hop
Thursday was about Nas and his deejay as much as it was about the state of music de jour. Thankfully for all of us, his performance was illimatic – beyond ill, beyond the ultimate. Roskilde did not see Nas, we experienced him – a music great at his best long past the golden days of old school hip-hop.

It is little wonder that he returned onto the stage for a flawless encore after a long break at the end of his show. Swapping a combat jacket and plain black shirt for a Roskilde 2017 t-shirt, Nas returned to ice the cake with a seldom-seen swag. This was the incarnation of ‘the orange feeling’ and a lesson in hip-hop history for today’s Millenial generation.

More than for the festival, they’re ‘Volunteering 4 Life’

There’s more to Roskilde than the music. Original article written for The Copenhagen Post, available here

Skærmbillede 2017-07-05 kl. 22.36.57.pngVolunteering is a key part of Rokilde Festival (photo: Allan Kortbaek)

The patchy weather over the last few days has not swayed the tens of thousands of festival-goers who’ve made their way to this year’s Roskilde Festival for yet another year of merrymaking.  The logistics of organising a festival that houses a crowd of around 130,000 for a week of camping, concerts and debauchery are, as you might imagine, quite eye-opening in themselves.

Fuelled by the efforts of 32,000 volunteers each year, most of whom have volunteered for an average of five festivals, Roskilde Festival is, at its core, a non-profit fuelled by charitable efforts. The event also makes an effort to ameliorate global social issues through numerous dedicated initiatives. Befittingly, this year’s theme is hinged on focusing on cultural inequality, which it hopes to address through art, music, activities and donations.

One of the many organisations present at this year’s festival is the Settle N Share project – an experiment involving communities co-operating to strengthen the unique camp feeling at the event.

Volunteering 4 Life – a youth-based initiative that works to create cultural programs for youth within the fields of sports, music and European youth exchange with a focus on creating a link between Roskilde Festival and the Erasmus + program – is but one of the many initiatives in this year’s Settle N Share.

Propelled by Ishøj Ungdomsskole, this is the second time that the Volunteering 4 Life project will be at Roskilde Festival, having successfully run in 2013 (see below)

Onus on community sharing
This year, Volunteering 4 Life is focusing on educating the youth in volunteering in close collaboration with Roskilde Festival and other partners. According to Raymond Andrews, a benefactor of the youth exchange program, the non-profit, community-centred aims of Roskilde Festival are an ideal platform through which the volunteers of the initiative can gain a hands-on introduction to the philanthropic goals of the event.

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Community sharing is one of the core objectives of Volunteering 4 Life at Roskilde Festival 

Essentially this entails its 52 volunteers at the festival being introduced to companies such as DXC – a tech multinational typified by high levels of employee retention and a hiring process that doesn’t involve hiring specialists but rather aims to hire based on matching skill-sets, informal or formal, which can be matched with its needs as a business.

The aim here is to inspire and equip the program’s volunteers with informal skills for their career development.

To orchestrate this, app-making and other tech-based knowledge sharing aimed at boosting the competences of the volunteers are central to the work of Volunteering 4 Life at Roskilde. Similarly, it is hoped that festival initiatives such as Settle’N Share and REACT (a recycling system) will foster a strong dialogue between some of Roskilde’s aims and the Volunteering 4 Life program’s volunteers, who will work for a period between 24-32 hours during which they will support the needs of other festival-goers while engaging in informal learning experiences.

Beyond Roskilde Festival: providing skills for a competitive labour market

Volunteering 4 Life participants contributing to Roskilde Festival's "Orange Feeling"
Volunteering 4 Life participants contributing to Roskilde Festival’s “Orange Feeling”

Outside of the festival, the Volunteering 4 Life program links to the goals of the Erasmus + mobility program through which it aims to maximise the potential of the youth in an increasingly competitive labour market, typified by a lack of practical expertise and speculation emanating from global financial instability.

Via the aforementioned Erasmus + program, Volunteering 4 Life creates the opportunity for groups of young people aged 13-30 from different countries to meet and live together for up to 21 days – a project dubbed ‘mobility youth exchange’. Other organisations involved in the youth exchange include Battle IT (Estonia), Nordic Heights (Finland), Youth School Vilnius (Lithuania), H2o (Portugal), Atrendia (Spain) and Handicap Team (Sweden) amongst others.

During this time, joint programs centered around workshops, debates, simulations and other activities take place, with the aim of building competences and creating awareness around socially relevant topics.

Visit Volunteering 4 Life at Roskilde Festival (you will find them located in the camping area ‘P’) or check out their website for more information about their work.

 

Roskilde 2017: More than something for The Weeknd

That’s what you call a second act! (photo: Kayla Johnson)

That’s what you call a second act! (photo: Kayla Johnson)

original article written for The Copenhagen Post, available here

Canadian R&B act Abel Makkonen Tesfayese (aka The Weeknd) was always going to be one of Roskilde Festival’s highlights in a music line-up that many festival-goers contend is void of veritable headliners this year.
This notwithstanding, there was some confusion as what to expect from the show – would it be a masterclass in Tesfayese’s undeniable vocal prowess or would he wilt in the limelight?

Lukewarm start
Kicking things off later than expected, The Weeknd shook the partisan crowd to life with a performance of his flagship track, ‘Starboy’. A significant screen lag and palpable sound issues marred what was otherwise a befittingly bold opening. This was further diluted by the black and white screen projections against a dark, restless sky.  The lukewarm start dragged past the first few songs before a driven performance of ‘party monster’ changed the direction of the show.

Gone were the insipid black and white screens, duly replaced by rich colours and strong visuals. The sound still wasn’t quite right though and several punters questioned whether what we were hearing was playback or a tone maestro at his recognisable best – pushing his tenor range to the maximum with some mind-blowing falsettos.

Midway through and any doubts as to what we were hearing were consigned to mere memory compliments of an epic rendition of ‘Six Feet Under’ – another of the monumental tunes off Tesfayese’s 2016 album ‘Starboy’.

Cementing his popularity with the crowd, The Weeknd then rolled out a bold performance of  ‘Low Life’ (minus the grunts and barks of Atlanta rapper Future, who features heavily in the studio version).

Spellbinding magic
With the skies darkening and a crescent moon rising low over the trees around the Orange Stage, Tesfaye’s show peaked into top gear, as club grooves such as ‘Secrets’ and the iconic ‘Earned it’, off the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ soundtrack, worked a powerful, spellbinding magic on the indefatigable crowd.

A reminder of The Weeknd’s local popularity came towards the end as his popular party anthem ‘Can’t feel my face’ received unanimous backing from the crowd, who sang along for its entirety.

The Weekend came, saw and conquered Roskilde Festival 2017. If Tesfaye arrived as a Starboy, he left as a legend, carried by cheers for what was quite possibly the biggest crowd this reviewer has seen at the Orange Stage in his eight years at the event.

Roskilde Festival 2017 A-Z day one

Another year, another Roskilde Festival (my 8th one to be precise). Here are my shots from the first day of the event, along with a few general observations. #Rf17 seems to be a lot more formal but that doesn’t neccessarily mean it’s better organised. It’s early on but I have yet to figure this festival out (or I have grown old).

A- Authorities

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Rescue services are in full force, which is reassuring for us merrymakers

B – Beer bowling

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Beer bowling – a national sport at Roskilde, comme tojours.

C – Can collectors

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Can collectors from far and wide

D – Delights

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Delights – of the (charming) culinary sort – lots of em!

E – Epic Sax Guy

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We found him!

F – Foxes

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Where there’s foliage there’s foxes – this one was sat by the train tracks in Roskilde West

G – Gadgets

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Gadgets & gizmos galore – Fatboys and fidget spinners are killin’ it at Rf17

H – Happy times

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Keep em coming 😉

I – Illimatic fashion

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Rf17 is hip ville 2.0

J – Jams

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Traffic jams, music jams, people jams (like this one on the bridge over to Roskilde West)

K – Kicks

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Some stand out more than others

L – Loopey slogans

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You can thank Trump for them later

M – Mobile phones

IMG_1466There are mobiles galore and I am also guilty of reaching into my pocket for mine a bit too often

N – Nosh

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Nosh – lots of it, mostly organic

O – Old Gees

IMG_1515.JPGIt’s a festival for the young and old but young at heart

P – Police

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There is a heightened police presence this year. I saw police with M16 rifles ( a first), plain clothes police with labradors and police cars driving around

Q – Questions

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What are you looking at?

R – Rubbish!

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One (wo) man’s treasure, another (wo) man’s trash

S – Skate

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The skatepark is less flamboyant this year. Last year’s festival saw Red Bull host a range of engaging activities in my favourite corner of Roskilde West. This year, not much is happening there, though Game Denmark have taken ownership of most of the sporting activities in the rest of the area.

T – Tunnel

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The tunnel at Roskilde station – blissful at this moment in time but typically jam-packed

U – Urine

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Urine – urine everywhere (but there are more toilets and urinals around)

V – Vans – They are off the wall and über alles

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W – Woodstock

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Woodstock and Roskilde – not that many parallels but you will find the Woodstock Hummel bus parked in Roskilde West

X – X marks the spot

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We all love setting crosses by the names we’d like to see on stage

Y – YOLO

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You really do only live once at Roskilde. Cheesy? – it’s Y, give me a break!

Z – Zzz

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Beauty sleep – get lots of it at RF17!

See you out there for more action from the music days from Wednesday onwards. Which bands are on your hit list this year? Here’s a list of my favourites from last year. For more Roskilde Festival pictures, check out my 2015 photo roundup

Capital Fluxus at CPH Dox Awards Ceremony

Pics from Capital Fluxus’ performance at CPH Dox’s Awards Ceremony – held at Charlottenborg Palace, Copenhagen.

As Copenhagen Dox, the city’s largest documentary film festival made its return after a one and a half year hiatus, Capital Fluxus marked their musical versatility with a performance at the festival’s awards ceremony.

Who are Capital Fluxus?

“Capital Fluxus are well on their way to becoming one of Europe’s most interesting hip hop acts – and well, honestly, they already are.” “They respect the basics of hip hop and urban music, and additionally try to shake things up by tossing some actual art into the mix.”

Vice Magazine, Denmark – Read full review here.

For Bitchslap Magazine’s low-down on Capital Fluxus’ first major tune, read here

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And here’s a their latest video:

CAPITAL FLUXUS – NOL & SOL from Jacob Schill on Vimeo.

The Kenyan Coast, December 2016

This is a journey back to the country I grew up in — this time round in the company of my girlfriend. I find myself guilty, each and every single day, of forgetting just how beautiful a country it was and still is.

Most people relate to Kenya through the glossy images and videos that travel boards market — or through the stories of children in need of food and a penny or two of your donations during prime time broadcasting. Both scenarios present an exaggerated view of a nation of so many facades.

Our journey begins in Mombasa — Kenya’s second city, which is a loud, polluted mess. Many of its hotels of yesteryear are now a distant flicker of the glorious tourism heyday and now stand crumbling — behemoths under the African sun.

But this is Africa though (TIA), so for every crumbling hotel, there is a fighting soul forking out a living for themselves — making ends meet. There is hope, everywhere — a force that is as constant as the lingering heat and the blue of the ocean.

 

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I am no fan of Mombassa but tuk-tuk rides can be fun. This one was

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Mombassa’s Nyali beach is not exactly paradise lost but some of it can be appealing it its own way

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Here, you will find overpriced, half- starved camels that suffer in the hot sun to cure your selfie fetishes. I need not add that these mighty beasts are not native to these parts

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Nonetheless, perched on their back, as in the Lawrence of Arabia days – you will find one tourist after another who thinks it’s cool to plod along the beach in tow

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If you want something a bit more real – wander north to Kilifi – 65 kilometres north of Mombassa. This was taken from the road on the way to my godmother’s house as we ventured inland, past the glittering Kilifi creek

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The real magic starts when you venture south though – to Diani and further on, Galu beach- 33 kilometers  south of Mombassa

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Daybreak  in these parts is an overture, masterfully woven – the water was still enough to paint on that particular morning

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Rupturing the peace ever so slightly, a fishing boat coasted gently along, leaving weak ripples in its wake

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Noon, and the overhead sky never looked more divine. There is something pacifying in the shade of a coconut tree

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Nothing beats the water though

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I am humbled, time and again by these mystical creatures – masters of the seas

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We found this sandbank in the middle of the Ocean, a barrier between the reef and the shore that rears its sandy head at low-tide

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Come dawn, back at shore and the distant clouds are aflame once again

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Clumsy creatures descend from the heavens, strangers in the early night whose arrival on the beach is marked by a short burst of rushing air followed by a thud and the occasional scream.

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Dusk turns symphonic just before the curtain call. I will miss these emphatic colours and the coruscating waters of the Indian Ocean. I will miss the smiling people – my people and their ways under the sun