• Phil

World Watching: Bolivia

Hello to the ether! I have an empty couple of hours this morning, so just time for a brief mind-spaff. We’re just after holding the winter version of our biannual “World Watching” seminar, which, as anticipated, was a far improvement on the last one (see blog entry no.1).

Presented by Bolivian expat Miguel and his Japanese wife, Hiromi, the event got great feedback from everyone I spoke to. Hiromi kicked us off with a fascinating talk about Bolivia. Not being a country that is well-known in Japan (or presumably anywhere for that matter) it was mentioned a lot to me later how new all the information was. The thing which struck me personally was the sheer number of ethnic groups living in such a relatively sparsely populated nation. All those traditions and languages have helped to create a unique culture, not to mention the geographical peculiarity of the country being at 3500-5000 metres altitude! Hiromi had lived in Bolivia for a couple of years as part of a volunteer programme, at which time she met Miguel, and her presentation about the country was interspersed with nice little anecdotes and personal experiences.

After the talk, and some brief questions, the final half an hour was devoted to Miguel and Hiromi’s music. They brought a range of instruments that Miguel had brought with him all the way from Bolivia. The first performance was the two of them; Miguel on the drum with Hiromi’s beautiful flute playing, before we the audience joined in with the later songs, dancing, and, in the case of some volunteers, playing some percussive instruments along with Miguel and Hiromi.

Here's a little video taken of one of the songs: