Bees aAfrican Symphony - This is my best attempt to write a symphony that reflects the joy that i experienced when i visited Ghana a few years back. I went with my almost best friend ever and very lovely girlfriend Beverley Bee .. a veteran of Ghana adventures. We stayed with kind hosts Mi and Counsellor for much of the time just outside Accra and beached danced at Wendy's [tourist resort that has some great All Africa bands] as well as visiting the mountains near Togo with our hosts and venturing up to Ashanti country and the great medieval looking market in Kumasi. We wnet along with a whole string of other adventures drinking palm wine in forests, seeing troups of monkeys in secret forest clearings , swimming in volcanoes to name but a few. Hope you like it as much as i do..

Bees African Symphony is a short recollection of a short not-African man in Africa - gone is the antimusical genius of Mike Burr made in his short pathetic little life however other artifacts of questionable sanity may be found on Mike Burr - the almost ultimate web site Revel in his other questionable creations !!.

The Sound of Foo ... Bees African Symphony

Here are a few notes ... when i wrote "just like real symphony" its just like a real symphony ... except i only used a chopped up bit of the microsoft ding dong when you start the computer and a bit of sampled Korg DSS1 which i have in the bathroom .. and i also lied because now i remember there are gongs in it !!! [i edit-outed the crows !] along with a dodgy bit of violin .. thats my orchestra .. doesnt sound very promising and i can already hear you heading for the shed... but you have to give these things a try so ill put a realy normal bit on first .. - innovators we salute you and Africans we salute you - youre ingenuity knows few bounds [all the tracks are mp3 - where they are over a Meg there will be found a note aside of the link]
here we go then: ....

Track 01 - Ships .. i used to sit on the beach and watch the container ships and such headed for the docks in Accra ive written it like a shanty and its about getting drunk .. running around in various capers geting all wobbly getting a hang over etc .. just like real nautical people are supposed to do ships ***recording 1.7 megs
okay so now you can feel safe exhume your relatives and invite them round for a symphony
Track 02 - this is the real begining track and i have to say i wanted it to have all the orchestration of the march in Tchaikovsky's 6th but i couldnt quite do it none the less im sure youll agree it compares favourably ! in fact i bet hes plagarising it right now in some distant part of the Urals it also plays a sort of variant on the ships theme about 2 mins in is a theme also repeated throughout the whole symphony and then a churchy version of the opening african style before a return to roo rah roo reying more powerful than the roughest Indian detergent ! recording 2 megs
Now at this point i should mention some of the cunning that Erninette [my loveliest computer] has devised into this work .. european music usually has 8 notes [ignoring 4 sharps] abcdefg so by stringing the alphabet along and wrapping it abcdefg hijklmn opqrstu vwxyz you can make words into notes so mike becomes fbde and exodus .. which is the roo rah roo rey coventry carol type sound done with 5ths/7ths is right in the middle of this epic along with words like farewell to england etc etc [you may think im joking but sadly im not am i Erninette -^* ... see... well i pull that little stuntner right the way through this epic and theyre often the repeated little signatures such as begins "the heart of foo" which says "bee millar", my almost best friend
Track 03 this is the beach at sandpiper bay .. we used to cut through doctor Berko's garden to the beach which had palm trees sand some protective rocks a little further out so the waves lapped in small-small and birds .. a pied kingfisher fluttered over the rocks , curlews probed a bit further up and flew to their safe rock perches and sandpipers waddled carelessly .. now it happens that beverley bee is a bit of a birdist of the gallumphing kind and in this bit the waves are the rather elaborate chord sequence on the high timbred synth and then this gets hijacked by the hephalump that is Bee trying to get close to the curlew to see if its a european curlew or a fukwit curlew .. then the tinkly sounds are the kingfisher hunting little twinkly fish so heres the sound of the beach recording 1.8 megs

Track 04 im not sure whether it was eating fish at the main beach festival or being bitten by Couns and Mai's african grey parrot but either way i was really ill. Camped out on the verandah under a mosquito net i lost about 10 kgs .. which is nearly half my body weight [brain included] and i wanted to go home .. this is my being ill experience in music it starts with a queezy version of the ships theme and in the middle i think you can hear my illness quite clearly and if i remeber rightly i was going mike buaaaah just like the musick .. then it develops into a variant of what is later a beverley tune and ends a bit more happily hear my illness in its sonic glory recording 1.6 megs

okay .. im sure youll agree its a masterpiece so far .. but it gets even better ! it gets better because this is the bit where bee goes shopping .. so a lot of women are going to have an empathy with this and you wont be banned to the shed when they hear it Track 05 - shopping with bee - after i was ill we went on a kill or cure trip to Kumasi which is a few hundred miles up the Volta, We went in a trotro[ read old camper stuffed full of people] when you go to Kumasi market you are going to get hijacked.. someone will ask you what youre looking for then they take you through a labarinth of stalls wooden and covered from the heat like forest paths until you get to some relative of theirs and after trying this and that it isnt right so they haul you off soemwhere else and so on till you are tired and probably disoriented and thats what this track is about .. starts of with a happy Bee shopping tune .. then goes into what should be a baroque version which gets hijacked with rising sevenths followed by a load of over long [and plain wrong] descents .. after a bit is a slowed down minor version of the same theme and last of all a clarinet/choir bit that represents a snoozy bee back at the hostel now you too can shop with bee recording 1.5 megs

probably the most advanced musical shopping experience written in the history of music to date and i expect, a future trend setter ... Track 06 - lunch at the cafe - it seems that europeans have seeped into the pores of african bedrock and spring out at the most unexpected times and places and whats even better is theyre either weird or whacky but often in a very reserved way which can be interesting. This is a pot pourri dedicated to those souls that we chatted to in cafes around ghana though the white european song of choice is "summertime" [gershwin] ours is a trbute in the form of a string quartet and we eventually dose off ... music to nibble to recording 1.3 megs

Track 07 - a wobblachious flute really is the essential cobra .. along with its insistent rhythm .. you can hear it out hunting .. the snake though went into the water tank tower and was spotted doing so by Couns. Amazingly it had been living behind the tools - everyone had used them and man-serf Charles put his clothes on top [before shamelessly washing naked in the yard ]. The snake wriggled and spat at Cons who then used all his woodland cunning to kill it. The last bit is the spirit of the snake going off to snake Nirvana which probably has a lot of tool boxes in it. Couns versus the cobra recording 1.8 megs

Track 08 - next we went on a trip to the distant hills on the eastern border of Ghana and Togo. This entailed a 300 mile drive , crossing at the mighty Akinsombo dam , then through a lot of forest tracks and culminated in a difficult mud slide of a climb 900 metres up onto the ridge. We stayed at an old german mission on the top of the mountains which afford a view of say 2 or 300 miles out across the valley of the Volta, an amazing vista that blended in the evening into a distant western sun. A group of about six of us went clambering down using the treacherous and steep path using vines as holds a couple of hundred feet to bathe in the pool at the base of the waterfall. There were hundreds of bizzie lizzies, long spider lines, and a rainbow cast high across the pools and bats from the overhanging rock and calls of hornbills from forest glades below. The arpegio at the beginning is a bit of the "bee" tune later and represents the stream at the top then it cascades over the mountain and eventually into the rockpool. We were joined by some local children who insisted on diving in from the side and under our legs - we just had such a fantastic fun and i hope this goes a little way to capturing its paradise. waterfall in the mountainsrecording 1.6 megs

Track 09 - this expresses my contentment .. by this time id got used to everything and felt very healthy .. the foo in the title is fool with no 'ell and this daft pun begins the music .. the repeated one bar theme is Bees name encrypted i find it so relaxing but never fail to be surprised by the middle bit which represents my annoyance with all things electrical and mechanical ! [grrr - urm thats not you Erninette honest !] the heart of foorecording 1.8 megs

Track 10 - we used to go into Accra quite often - usually to visit the markets to pick up the hats and beads and bags and drums and .. that Bee had ordered. Accra is quite multicultural and the french club and jazz club seemed to be small hubs around which this centred. This track is an attempt to reflect it but in truth its a bit limited in accrarecording 1.5 megs

Track 11 - the next bit is my favourite bit - Beverley Bee - its what i used to play on Mai's dodgy classical guitar. I used to play this special Bee theme to the kingfisher and the curlews which probably explains their peculiar behaviour ... but not Bees, thats heredity for you ! beverley bee the one true beerecording 2.3 megs

Track 12 - i was a bit homesick and i wanted to go and see my parents and my son which is not that easy when theyre 3000 miles distant. I didnt realy have homesickness but it would have been great if theyd been there and all the mosquitos had gone on holiday somewhere else .. feeling homesickrecording 2.3 megs

Track 13 - leaving africa - given the above i was quite sad to go home but then the exit visa people tried a scam to get some money out of me as the plane was departing .. and it sort of bought a little reality in the going .. id like to go back but wouldnt as all the palaver with raid and mosquito nets and lemon ziff drove me nuts leaving africarecording 1.5 megs

well thats my african musical experience Bees African Symphony i hope one day someone will orcastrate .. sorry orchestrate it in a kind an sympathetic way on real instruments ..

all copyright - mike burr though i would be gratefull if anyone has any ideas for it to be assigned to a suitable charity [the society for the deaf i hear you think ???]


Also see :

Mike Burr

T Image of Mike Burr painted by the artist

showing his unique six stave vertical method of composition