Everyone, no matter where they come from, knows cultural sounds of love and hate. We all have within us to rise to beautiful heights and fall to devastating lows. Understanding this makes choosing which we represent ever more important.
For Grammy Award-winning producer and author Ian Brennan (Tinariwen, Zomba Prison Project) and his wife, Italian-Rwandan filmmaker, author, and photographer — Marilena Umuhoza Delli — do their best to feature underserved communities around the world to show their strength and love in the face of pain and struggle.
Their current joint project, Witch Camp (Ghana), gives a voice to those women in Ghana who have been cast off by their societies, accused of witchcraft and forced to live in separate communities.
Recorded in these settlements, where women accused of witchcraft have built safety and community — Witch Camp (Ghana)’s musical project ‘I’ve Forgotten Now Who I Used To Be’ is a collection of songs performed by these women who have suffered immense personal loss.
“Love Please” is the most recent songs released under this project and features an array of voices ricocheting and intertwining with each other over a soft drum of pots, hand claps and other daily use items. Sung in a regional dialect, the women band together in this single as they do every day on their settlements.
Brennan, an Oakland native, adds this beautiful piece to his diverse bodies of field recordings that aim to give a voice to the voiceless.
With this project in particular, Brennan and Umuhoza Delli bring to light the mental and physical struggles, ailments and other afflictions those who have been ostracized suffer, pointing out that for many of these women accused of witchcraft are targeted for their land after their husband’s passing. Umuhoza Delli also notes the personal nature of this project for her and the luck of not facing a similar fate as the women accused of being witches.
“Belief in witchcraft is sometimes also used as simple scapegoating for the arrival of bad luck such as foul weather or illness,” says Umuhoza Delli. “More commonly, it is a justification for pre-existing hate and prejudice. A member of my own family was driven out of her village in Malawi as a child after she was accused of being a witch due to having a white father— a fate that could have been my own if our places of birth were simply swapped.”
‘I’ve Forgotten Now Who I Used to Be’ features 20 recordings including “Love, Please” and will be released March 12. For more information on the project, make sure to check out Brennan and Umuhoza Delli’s websites as well as the link for the album pre-order.
Words: Patti Sanchez
I’VE FORGOTTEN NOW WHO I USED TO BE
(Six Degrees Records)
Release Date: March 12, 2021