Michal Rataj: African Beauty In Berlin
rAdioCUSTICA selected 2003 | 16:02
African Beauty In Berlin
2002 was my "Berlin" year. There was an African student in the family I lived with. Every Sunday she would go to a chapel where black people congregated, where about a hundred Africans met regularly from all over the African continent.
When I set off with Dorothy - that was her name - one Sunday to one of these prayer meetings, it was clear to me that I'd probably be seeing and hearing something which one doesn't see or hear every day. I didn't hold out for the whole of the three-hour prayer-music-dance session and, after an hour, I went to wait outside the building. After a while, however, I realised that it was all just beginning, that more and more people were arriving, with electric guitars, drums..., they start dancing, experiencing some kind of geographical nostalgia... So I grabbed my microphone and went back in.
This whole experience provided the impulse for creating this radiophonic work. African beauty in Berlin is my fictional story of how something extremely old, traditional, complete and beautiful undergoes transformation in new contexts - changes in ritual, faith, language, customs...