“Hidden Sky,” Mali, and the Chukchi people

By Elizabeth Doyle

Elephants of Samburu, Kenya

Jami Sieber – I just bought this album.  It’s called “Hidden Sky” and it’s inspired by elephants. Yes, elephants!  Apparently, according to the album notes, a visit with the elephants in Thailand just about changed this musician’s life. Changed how she sees herself, and all those around her.  And changed how she plays music.  This is definitely the most haunting music she’s ever made. If I didn’t know it was about elephants, I would never have guessed.  But now that I know, I think I can feel their ancient gentleness in every note.  A portion of the proceeds of the album go to help elephants, so I can feel good about that.  And there is something absolutely mystical about what those giants have done to this music …..  I do believe that their presence is behind it. Click here.

A Dogon granery, Mali

Salif Keita – This guy’s really interesting. He’s literally descended from kings in Mali.  But he was born albino (lack of pigment in the skin), and for that reason, was cast out by his family.  If it hadn’t been for that, being in the caste he was in, he might never have become a singer, but as it was …. he went on to become a musical star! One theme in his music, naturally enough, is trying to teach that “different” does not mean “bad.” (Apparently, albinos can face some terrible persecutions in some parts of Africa – including human sacrifice.)  In addition, in interviews he’s spoken about some religious pressure from some mosques back in Mali that don’t like music.  But he seems to have no trouble uniting his love of his spiritual faith with his love of sound, and seems to be doing a lot of good in the process:  Click here.



Ergyron— I’ve always admired people who used to live in the Arctic … before we had indoor switches that turn on the heat.  I can’t imagine falling asleep in subzero temperatures every night and awakening every morning to …. More subzero temperatures.  I feel like I’d have a permanent case of the flu.  But of course, snow is

A Chukchi woman

also magical, mystical and romantic… when you don’t feel its bite.  And I think you can see both sides of Arctic life in traditional Arctic song and dance.  I feel like you can see the harshness of life – and also the wonder of snow glistening pink in the morning sunrise.  Ergyron comes from the Arctic of Russia (the Chukchi people). The group calls themselves Chukchi-Eskimo: Click here.







Top photo:  Sharon St Joan / elephants in Kenya

Second photo: Michelealfieri / Dreamstime.com / A granery in a Dogon village, Mali

Third photo: Konstantin Shevtsov / Dreamstime.com / a Chukchi woman

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