In today’s podcast we hear from people who have traveled and are sharing their interesting and diverse experiences. We listen to Michael, a French student in Germany, telling us a story of how he was welcomed in Germany.
Then we listen to Audrey, she tells us how surprised she was after attending a German wedding and experiencing the customs and traditions of a typical German wedding. In the last part of the podcast we listen to Maris from Latvia who tells us the tale of “5 minutes”, information that every tourist should learn before traveling to Egypt.Continue reading Absolutely Intercultural 203 +++ Traveling +++ Diversity +++ Time Management +++ Culture and Traditions +++
In this show we’ll be looking mostly at languages in the US and how that helps or hinders intercultural understanding.
We’ll start with Louis Michot, one of the prime movers behind the Cajun Punk band the Lost Bayou Ramblers. In show 144 we heard about their music and what it meant to the band members as well as its cultural roots. Another topic that we talked a great deal about was the status of the French language in Louisiana. I made a trip to Louisiana many years ago and I have to say that the language was not really evident but when I talked to Louis I discovered that this was because it was mostly hidden. So the question is why would anyone in Louisiana want to hide the fact that they can speak French? And do people in Louisiana still learn French? Is it absolutely francophone?
So there’s a lot of sensitive history behind the survival of the French language in that part of the United States. Then a few weeks ago, my eyes and ears in Florida, Kole Odutola alerted me to a Communiqué sent out by the Southeast African Languages and Literatures Forum on October 2nd, which read: We, the members of Southeast African Languages and Literatures Forum (SEALLF) at the second annual conference of the forum held at the Chapel Hill Campus of the University of North Carolina, acknowledge that in view of the internationalization of the curriculum at many American colleges and universities, there is the need to increase the number of American undergraduate and graduate students engaged in the study of critical languages of Africa.
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks many US universities beefed up their foreign language requirements in recognition of the fact that to understand another culture it helps greatly if you know a bit of the language. So here was a Communiqué suggesting that the foreign language requirement should more often lead to the learning of an African language such as Yoruba. But why? To find out more I spoke to Dr Désiré Baloubi of Shaw University in North Carolina, the Chair of the Forum behind the Communiqué. And during the course of our conversation I also learned a new acronym, HBCU, which stands for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. So why does an English teacher start a campaign to promote the learning of African languages?
absolutely illegal The issue of language just doesn’t go away and after finding out how and why Louis Michot learned French, I spoke to his father Tommy Michot to find out more about attitudes to the French language in the recent past and discovered that at one point it was absolutely illegal! We’ll start by hearing as Tommy Michot sings in French a snippet of La Valse de la Meche Perdue with his band Les Frères Michot.
Thanks to all those who took part and remember that if you’ve got a good idea for a show then get in touch and we’ll see if we can include it. We’re always on the look out for interesting people and ideas. Don’t forget to take a look at our webiste if you want to follow up on some of the people or issues we’ve looked at in this show. You’re welcome to leave us a comment about what you thought, a question or a suggestion.
Thanks for your support which got us all the way to a European Podcast Award last year. The nominations are open for this year’s competition and as part of the PR around the award I was interviewed about this podcast and what it meant to win the award. You’ll find a link to that podcast here.
Well it’s been a busy few weeks in which amongst other things I took part in the Managing Cultural Diversity seminar held every year at the Rhein Ahr campus. And this year there are pictures so here is a link to the Facebook Album. And as if this wasn’t enough, my co-host Laurent Borgmann is once again leaving for Australia for a few months. So in order to make things more manageable we have decided to go monthly. So watch out for the next show which will be coming to you from Down Under!
This show is rather special in many ways and may be a little longer than normal. As you may have guessed from the musical intro we’ll be going to Louisiana to find out the link between culture, work and music; and the people we’ll be meeting are father and son, Tommy and Louis Michot. I first met Tommy through my husband about 20 years ago. They are both biologists and when we went to Louisiana to visit Tommy’s family, I discovered that Tommy is also a serious musician; serious in the sense that he and his brothers, Les Freres Michot, tour, and make albums. We also met up at several academic events in Europe where there would always be occasion for Tommy to get out his squeezebox and share the Cajun music of Louisiana which is sort of what you heard at the beginning of the show.
And then as often happens, we lost contact. Suddenly in mid-August, my husband got an email from Tommy saying that his sons, Louis and Andre, now have a band called the Lost Bayou Ramblers and that they were playing at a festival in southern Denmark. So down we went to Tønder, near the German border, to hear and meet up with Louis and Andre in the Lost Bayou Ramblers. While the rest of Denmark seemed to be having a sunny day, a terrific thunderstorm was competing with the musicians for our attention, and festival goers were walking around the site ankle deep in water, making the whole thing look a little like a Louisiana Bayou. Meeting Louis and Andre after their set I realised that the music, the environment and their father’s career were all tightly interwoven and thought it might be interesting to unravel some of the pieces.
To set the scene you just need to know that the Cajuns of Louisiana were originally displaced people from France who came to Louisiana by way of Canada.
We’ll start with Louis Michot who started out playing in his father’s band and has since gone on to form his own band with his brother Andre. The Lost Bayou Ramblers’ musc is rooted in Cajun but with a contemporary twist. Here’s Louis explaining what Cajun music is and how his band have updated it. That’s followed by a preview of the new single, Bastille, by The Lost Bayou Ramblers out at the end of September and then we hear from Louis’ father Tommy about where the word Cajun comes from.
Then I talked to Tommy about his work at the University of Louisiana and was amazed at how absolutely interdisciplinary his work is.
Although Cajun music is rooted in tradition, I learned that Les Freres Michot also write new songs and that in one specific case the song arose out of one of Tommy Michot’s academic tasks. Let’s hear more about how work and play can be absolutely connected and then hear a snippet of the end result, La Valse de la Meche Perdue. You can try a short dictation from this segment at Listen and Write.
Finally we’re going to go absolutely global and hear once again from Louis Michot, this time about the B side of the Lost Bayou Ramblers’ new single Bastille which is also called Bastille and is a remix in a very different style. So we’ve gone from father to son, from work to play and from traditional to present day. One transition I haven’t had time for is French to English but we’ll take that in a later show so, finally, we’re going to go from local to absolutely global!