Man I love Fitz. I've been sending him a few bucks now and then to work on his third record. He names all of his records Kadandulu. He told me it's the name of a special bird that cries if its nest is destroyed. The last money I sent, he took half and bought a mountain bike. Makes me smile so much cause he was definitely sneaking, but I don't mind at all. Glad to help the guy, and glad he's not buying beer with the money. I met him in Mzuzu, Malawi in 2004. He was walking around selling his cassettes out of a box. He had dreads back then and a knit Rasta cap. I bought a couple of tapes, but to be honest, never listened to them because I didn't have a cassette player. When I was back in Malawi last year, he caught me on the street and started hitting me up for a trip to America cause he thought he could do better there with his music. After that, I was dodging him for a little while cause I was scared of his full court press for a round trip ticket, then I don't know what happened, a few weeks later it hit me that I could help the guy out somehow. He wanted to promote his music and I had all my camera stuff, so we started planning for a video.
We needed to pick a song, so we walked down to a bar that had a tape player and put his tape in. His music started, and it rocked my brain. I didn't know his songs were that good till then. Edson, a local who's always around and can be seen wearing a yellow shirt in the video, started dancing. I was kind of impressed, but didn't know if it was really good, or maybe I was just wanting it to be good and liking the moment.
In the video, the room he wakes up in, is actually his sisters room. The little boy is dancing on his front porch. The big group of kids surrounding him, that's at a little school up the street. The bicycles are bicycle taxis. I paid them three or four bucks to peddle us around and I'm sitting backwards shooting off the back of one. The crowd in the street, those are the neighbors who were around and wanted to jump in. The night stuff indoors, that's all shot across the street from his house at a lodge/hotel. Some drunk guys made that difficult. The gold boom box I rented for ten bucks. The whole thing cost about 25 dollars to make, which is important cause film/video work is far too often about money. This is folk art to me. Both the music and the video. It's about the common person. Deep inside, this is really the filmmaker I want to be. People always say things like, "Oh, you could be the next Spielberg", That's who everybody thinks of when you say filmmaker, and I like Spielberg, but I want to be like Mark Twain or Woody Guthrie. I think about Hemingway's adventures all the time, and Steinbeck's endings. I also think about Emily Dickenson, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen a lot, but mainly I just think about being free. Free from the obsession that it's no good if it doesn't make money. That's is lame if 12 to 15 year old boys don't go to see it twice. That's is lame if agents don't call you when you're done.
It's been a long day; I'm tired and rambling.
I'm now a full blown fan of Fitz's music. He has another song called 'Penya' that I listen to all the time when I drive over here in Baghdad. I don't know what it means, but I yell along with it.
Today I received this new email from Fitz:
"cy how are you, about me am just so fine.I want to tell u that the ulbum is finished.now i need to put in CDs for promotion ,and journey to radio stations Blantyre and lilongwe .Pliz help me anything little . Yewo tisanganenge. Fitz."
Congratulations to you Fitz. I know its not easy to make a record in Malawi.