Khaira Arby on Jerry Springer?

So yesterday, the great Malian singer Khaira Arby (think Big Mama Thornton emerging from the Sahara Desert), who left her home in Tomboctou to come on tour in North America this summer, stopped by our studio in Boston for an interview.  Well, right now at WGBH, the front atrium near the lobby has been leased by a production company filming a comedy called “I Hate You, Dad.”  It’s starring Adam Sandler, Susan Sarandon and Andy Samberg.  The scene at WGBH involves (to the best of my knowledge) a TV talk show a la Jerry Springer hosted by a fictitious Randall Morgan.  All over the atrium are larger than life posters of Mr. Morgan in Warhol tints, shots of him with an obese guest, another one with a woman sporting basketball-sized implants.Now, Khaira Arby and I have known each other since 2000 when I visited her in Tomboctou and she and her band gave me a blistering command performance in the dusty city at sunset.  But she had never visited me on my turf.  When she entered the atrium yesterday, she stopped dead in her tracks, staring at the pictures of Randall Morgan.  “No, no,” I tried explaining to Khaira, “this is not the kind of show we do here.  This is fake.  Hollywood’s making a movie here.  We don’t interview obese people.  It’s a very American thing, but it’s not our thing.”  She still looked confused.  Chris Nolan, her tour manager who’s been with her for several years, got the gist of it.  I asked him to explain.  He tried.  Khaira still looked confused.  Her bandmates also looked confused.  She tried explaining the situation to them in Bambara.  They then all furrowed their brows, shrugged their shoulders, and we continued walking to the studio.

Their acoustic songs were gorgeous and trance-inducing.  Randall who?


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