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A consumerist post for the holidays

High on my holiday wishlist is “A Day in the Life of Africa”. While it’s a little amazing that it took until 2002 to put this project together (Day in the Life of America took place in 1986, the Soviet Union in 1987) and a little odd that Japan, India and Israel all got their own books, while the whole African continent gets a single book, it’s still a visually stunning document.

For those not running to shell out $50 for the hardcover version, there’s a number of excellent online galleries that have a subset of the images presented in the book. Olympus, which provided digital cameras to participating photographers has a dozen or so shots in an online gallery. The indispensible AllAfrica has twenty shots in an online gallery, alongside a dozen other fascinating photo galleries. My current favorite is the portrait of Ghana’s leading attraction, the legendarily chaotic Makola Market. Ofeibea Quist Arcton’s photos are so spontaneous and real that you can smell the palm oil.

If you’re looking for a soundtrack to your photo tour, take a look at LinkTV’s excellent online music store, offered through Calabash Music. (Buy through the LinkTV-branded store and some of your purchase goes to support LinkTV’s excellent programming…) The store is offering an introductory offer where you can buy 20 tracks for $10 – after the first 20, additional tracks are $0.99 apiece. Add to that the free tracks being offered as a sampler by LinkTV and you’ve got hours of legal mp3s from around the world for less than the price of a CD.

I’m currently digging several tracks by Amadou et Mariam, a blind married couple from Mali who make beautiful acoustic guitar music that seems to reside somewhere between Mississippi and Mali. My current fave is “Je Pense a Toi” – I’ve gotten to the point where I can sing the chorus in my mangled French, which will either make my wife smile or divorce me.