Cultural Reads 16: Learning Spanish, Salem Witch Trial, Mali Blues, Brazilian Political Thriller

Good Morning All,

And welcome to the 16th issue of the Cultural Reads Newsletter! A bi-weekly book, music, and movie recommendation from different countries all around the world.

In this week’s newsletter: Spanish, Guadeloupe, Mali & Brazil.

🎉 My Tips for Learning Spanish!

In 2014, I decided to study Spanish.

What started in a University classroom quickly grew out to be much more.

I lived in Spain and Ecuador, built many new friendships, and even translated for a minister of foreign affairs once.

Now, seven years later, I passed the final (C2) exam.

Learning Spanish has by far been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Therefore, I wanted to share  my story and tips & tricks, hoping that it will inspire or help those embarking on a similar journey.

📓 I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem – Maryse Condé (Guadeloupe)

“I caught sight of a lot of faces the same color as mine, and I understood that here too, the children of Africa were paving their tribute to misfortune.”

In 1692 in Salem, a town close to Boston, more than two hundred people were trialed for witchcraft. The majority of those found guilty were hanged.

According to the Essex County Archives records, one of the guilty was the enslaved Tituba Indian from Barbados.

Tituba’s story and that of many other enslaved black people are scarcely documented, leaving us only with hints of their hardships and life stories. Maryse Condé’s fictional account retells a part of history by giving Tituba a voice.

Maryse Condé was born in Guadaloupe, studied in Paris, and worked in Africa. She has written several historical novels about black Caribbean women and cultural clashes.

🎞️ Bacurau (Brazil)

It’s challenging to capture Bacurau in a single genre. You could say it’s a black-comedy thriller with horror elements and a political twist.

Bacurau is a small peaceful village that suddenly falls victim to random killings.

After the initial chaos, the truth gradually unravels.

A highly entertaining movie with a critical look at national and international political influences and corruption.

You can rent the movie on Amazon Prime and Youtube for $4.

🎸 Amadou & Mariam (Mali)

Amadou & Mariam are a musical duo from Mali.

Both singers became blind as kids and met at Mali’s Institute for the young blind. They performed at the institute’s orchestra and later became a romantic and singing duo.

They call their style Afro-Blues, with their most famous song being Sabali. NAS and Damien Marley later remade the song as Patience (a literal translation of Sabali).

The duo is still performing and is currently touring Europe. Tickets are still available here. For those in the Netherlands, the Amsterdam concert is on March 23rd.

Let me know if anyone would be interested in going!

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Cultural Reads