UPDATED March 29, 2010

BY The TDA Team

IN Tour d'Afrique

no comments

UPDATED March 29, 2010

BY The TDA Team

IN Tour d'Afrique

no comments

Harmony or Harmoany? The early morning wake up call of Northern Africa

I’ll admit I don’t get religion and I know little of the Muslim faith but when it comes to aural harmony lets talk about the impact of the ‘Call to Prayer’ …. throughout northern Africa we have been ‘hounded’ by this expression of religious devotion. Writers of literature would have it described in romantic lilting tones creating images of harmony but my experience has been a little different.
Usually ‘The Call’ would commence sometime between 4 & 5 am or about an hour before these 60 or so very tired riders would be ready to rise ( that’s of course if they have survived the continuous dogs barking or the bray or an anguished donkey or 3) and then would continue for as far as i can tell for as long as it suited the ‘caller’ to ‘call’….. but these guys can be pretty sneaky, they go on fulfilling their duty for quite some time and every now and then they go quiet and just about the time you drop your guard, lower your stress levels to normal & relax or even consider that you might get the opportunity to return to sleep, guess what .. the reprise followed shortly thereafter by the riders moan !!  It seemed that every where TDA thought it a good place to camp ‘the “Mus’ thought it a good idea to attempt with gusto our conversion.  I even considered that in this era of electronic communication the SMS Call to Prayer might be an option.

My new experience tells me that differing techniques are applied to the ‘Call to Prayer’ …. among which we have the ‘Auctioneer’, the horse ‘Race Caller’, the ‘Drone’, the ‘Dyslexic’, the ‘Donald Trump’ & the ‘Egotist’.

The ‘Auctioneer’ .. usually begins by checking the mic to ensure function, this can be a few quick bangs or the rapid expulsion of air immediately followed by his opening statement. The sounds then come in shirt rapid bursts, the intensity builds until breath fails at which time he takes a short break and repeats ad nauseam.

The ‘Race Caller’ .. can to the uninitiated sound somewhat like the Auctioneer but this man is calling the worlds longest horse race and he simply cannot afford the luxury of taking a breath. Rapid, intense and ongoing …. 70 minutes later and still we have no winner but that remains no deterrent to this enthusiastic communicator!!

The ‘Drone’ .. not happy to be up at all, would much rather have joined the riders in a quiet morning sleep in but bored as he is there is still a job to do and it will be executed with all the genuine disinterest and predawn distain he can muster. No inflection, no tonal variation, no colour. ‘Call’ is what is required and ‘Call’ is all he will do. Bored but not conceding.

 The ‘Tourettes suffering Dyslexic’ .. the manner of delivery suggests that this ‘caller’ just has to be reading from a script. Clearly every day cannot be his first day on the job and one figures he has to be familiar with the content, but the delivery ? … somehow it just doesn’t seem to come out the same way no matter how many times he repeats himself and repeat he does (of a manner). Between you and I this is the caller i get the clearest visualisation of.

The ‘Donald Trump’ .. it’s my microphone and ‘hell’ I can do whatever i like !! 5 minutes or 2 hours. Hum a little, sing a bit, chant occasionally, take a break and grab a coffee, gargle, practice a little foreign language, leave it to the background vocals of those gathered  .. whatever he likes, he has the mic and he has the power !!

The ‘Egotist’ .. These guys come into their own whenever we have mosques within sound range of each other. This can apply with as few as two or simply as many as you like. Techniques employed by the Egotist might in include the ‘up early jump start’ of the equally cagey contrasting “oh sorry i didn’t check my watch” ‘late to finish’ method, also volume can be well used to advantage in these exchanges. Any of the above outlines techniques can be employed in this the most fiercely contested of all the ‘call to Prayer’ exchanges. Each appears to be driven by the need to be heard over and above, longer and louder than all the other rivals ………. why ?? …. just because !!

And as entertaining as all this was there was one thing I most often found myself in a quandary about and that was the following ….. if you have been calling them to prayer for about an hour and if they are still not there way i see it, they probably aren’t coming !!
……… so give them the day off and please let the riders have a well deserved extra 60 minutes sleep.

Wayne Woodward

see more at www.wayneandpatrick.org

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