Category: Essays

Liner Essay: Debo Band, “Debo Band” (Album)

Sub Pop Records, July 10, 2012 The Debo Band’s debut CD on Sub Pop/Next Ambiance came out today. Here is the text of the liner essay I contributed to the album.  There’s something dangerous about tales of a Golden Age: especially a brief one. The so-called Golden Age of Ethiopian popular music (or Ethio-jazz, or […]

Last Van to Korhogo

Note: This is the text of my essay in Transition magazine, issue 108, out in June 2012. The full text is posted for a limited time here, prior to the issue’s release. Last Van to Korhogo Suspended between war and peace in Ivory Coast The filling station was no longer a filling station. The pumps […]

Free Okra

The Oxford American #49, April 2005 It was at the age of seven, at my grandmother’s table in Calcutta, that I formed a taste for okra. Indians often call okra “lady’s fingers,” and the preparations that came off the charcoal fire that the village-raised cook preferred to the kitchen stove were everything that the name connotes: smooth, delicate, and […]

Ebony and Ivoirité

Transition Magazine #94, October 2oo3. Reprinted at Alternet. Jil-Alexandre N’Dia is living the Ivorian dream. Eight years ago, N’Dia came to America. For the last five years, along with his childhood friend Daniel Ahouassa, N’Dia has run, a popular Web site that caters to migrants from Ivory Coast, the West African nation of their […]