8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 7, 2005
FROM THE EDITOR
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Managing Arts Editor
N'Dour brings Egyptian and
Senegalese music to AA
By Shubra Ohri
Daily Arts Writer
F NEA S VI EW
Youssou N'Dour and Fathy Salama's
Cairo Orchestra brought the majesty of
Why does Santa look like that guy from "Donnie Darko?"
shows banality of Gulf War
their music to Hill
Saturday as part
of their "Egypt"
tour. N'Dour hails
from Senegal, an
influenced by a
unique form of
Saturday, Nov. 5
At Hill Auditorium
By Jeffrey Bloomer
Daily Film Editor
The opening scenes of Sam Mendes's deadpan think-
piece "Jarhead" play like a trip
through classic cult-war films, from Jarhead
the "Full Metal Jacket" boot-camp
lineup and TV confessionals to an At the Showcase
actual projection of the famous and Quality 16
helicopter-attack sequence from Universal
"Apocalypse Now." The film, oddly
uneventful for a war movie, freely adopts and casually
manipulates iconic and horrific images from its prede-
cessors, leading into a movie that couldn't be more dif-
ferent from them.
Of course, those are Vietnam movies, inspired by
a war during which few who were there didn't have
the opportunity to kill. But the bored-on-a-sunny-day
Marines that populate "Jarhead" are left in the 112-
degree abyss of the first Gulf War with little to do that
doesn't involve sleeping, football and, as the film goes
to almost bizarre lengths to inform us, the extensive use
of their right (and sometimes left) hands.
For them, the only thing that's worse than killing
someone is having no one to kill; as the trademark
voice-over muses, "Every war is different. Every war
is the same." Fair enough, but try telling that to these
"Jarhead," based on the book by Anthony Swofford,
is meticulously structured in the image of war-cinema
archetypes, so we expect a confused, detached, one-man
central focus. Here it is Swoff (often-overlooked talent
Jake Gyllenhaal), disillusioned by the boredom of a war
that was never really meant to be and often left to obsess
over the gorgeous prize girlfriend he left at home ("I am
20 years old was and stupid enough to sign a contract,"
he quietly tells a TV reporter).
Normally in this equation, there's a turning point
involving a stunning moment of violence, but it becomes
clear that this is a different kind of war movie. About
the closest thing to an explosive climax is a scene in
which two characters are ordered not to kill someone.
In a way, then, the hackneyed framework early on
seems counterintuitive; we expect the same large-scale
violence the Marines do and are dumbfounded when it
never comes - so that void becomes the film's narra-
tive arc. It's a clever device.
But that doesn't mean the movie works. Mendes
clearly intended to steer it away from the war's political
implications: "Fuck politics. We're here; all the rest is
bullshit," says Troy (Peter Sarsgaard, "Garden State"),
Swoff's Hemingway-quoting war buddy, and maybe he's
right. Thing is, the movie builds and builds to a big rev-
elation that never comes. A film like "Jarhead" can sup-
port war or oppose it, be conflicted or undecided but it
can't turn a blind eye, and, above all, it can't not care.
The movie, for all its provocations, doesn't make much
of a point about anything.
Coming from a filmmaker as fiercely articulate as
Mendes ("American Beauty"), it's hard not to wonder
what he was thinking. The film is surely among the
year's most technically accomplished, with images
haunting no matter how botched their treatment, and
there's yet another performance of astonishing grace
from Jamie Foxx. The screenplay is artfully crafted,
too, but what's really missing here is a credible follow
through on the overarching angst of the story. Like Rid-
ley Scott's "Kingdom of Heaven" earlier this year, "Jar-
head" means well but forgets to tell a compelling story,
and that makes all the difference.
egalese tradition. "He has inherited those
traditions, and (he) has to tell people of the
past. Singing (about) real life events, sing-
ing about people, nature and facts of life,"
Drawing from the unique Sufi tradi-
tion of Muridism in Senegal, N'Dour's
performance reflected the esoteric quali-
ties preached by the religion. In traditional
golden-brown robes, his stage presence
was mesmerizing. As the music intensi-
fied, he twirled faster and jumped higher,
encouraging dancing in the front row of
the audience. In a burst of energy, one
of the members of the orchestra moved
around the stage playing hand cymbals.
Although N'Dour has gained interna-
tional prestige, the concert didn't showcase
only his talents; he allowed the orchestra's
music to come out in dazzling solos. Fathy
Salama's Cairo Orchestra utilized instru-
ments that echo the sounds of Northern
Africa - strings, percussion and wood-
winds with an Arabic twist.
Rhythm instruments included tabla,
dohalla and sagat. Stringed instruments
included the shaker rababa (a two-string
fiddle), and woodwinds were the oud,
kawala and anghuls. The sweet sound
of the kawala pranced through the heavy
line of strings and drums. Songs would
often begin as solos; then, the rest of the
Sufism, a form of Islamic mysticism.
The concert was presented by the Uni-
versity Musical Society, and the Senega-
lese Association of Michigan also helped
bring N'Dour to Hill. This group, com-
posed of some of the approximately 3,000
Senegalese people in the Metro Detroit
area, wanted to "help UMS get the word
out about the concert ... N'Dour is a great
ambassador of Senegal," group represen-
tative Al Housseynou said.
N'Dour is the leading exporter of
"m'blax" a combination of brass, Afro-
pop, jazz and African drumming. He
inherited the title of griot (a West African
wandering musician and poet) from Sen-
orchestra would slowly be integrated. Just
as their music began to saturate the air,
N'Dour would interject with his full, pas-
Most of the songs referenced Islam
and Allah - N'Dour's "Egypt" albpm
was initially made for N'Dour's friends
and family during the Islamic holy month
Ramadan. He performed songs that were
exclusively dedicated to the founder of
Muridism, Bamba, in "Shukran Baniba"
("Thank You, Bamba") and the sacred
city Touba in "Touba-Dar Salaam."
The concert combined N'Dour's Sene-
galese music with the Egyptian orchestra.
"It was amazing to see the fusion of such
rich and distinct cultures. To see them put
it together like that was incredible," said
LSA senior Tina Byenkya, a member of
the African Students Association.
The encore of N'Dour's performance
was an exuberant spectacle. With an audi-
ence dancing and reaching with their
arms in the air, his soulful voice chanting
"Touba" with climaxing drum beats, an
audience member jumped onto stage and
joined the percussion section of the orches-
tra. This man's presence was accepted and
celebrated as the musicians joined N'Dour
in dancing. Their joyful music enchanted
the audience, and they too were on their
feet, reveling in their own celebrations.a
Continued from page 1
What is clear, though, is that stories like Beyerchen's seem
to be more and more common among students. One Kinesiol-
ogy senior, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of
fear, has also stopped downloading movies illegally. "I used
to download movies that I intended to buy or that I wanted to
see but wasn't sure if it was worth the money. I usually got rid
of (the movies) because the quality was so poor," she said.
While she admitted that downloading movies was con-
venient because they were free, she ended up stopping for
several reasons. One was that it often took a whole day to
download a single movie, and she was afraid that ResComp
would shut down her connection for taking up bandwidth.
Another reason is that, like Beyerchei, the news of people
getting caught had an effect on her.
"I wasn't scared when I first started downloading, but the
more informed I became, the more scared I got," the student
said. "I did care about the fact that I didn't have the money
to pay any fines should I get caught and decided the returns
weren't worth the risk."
As far as downloading legally, the Kinesiology major doesn't
seem interested: "I may one day, but not right now."
Beyerchen is also apathetic. "I'd rather just go to Hollywood
Video or Blockbuster and purchase pre-viewed DVDs," he said.
Yet even with increased national awareness about the
consequences and the "educational activities" the University
has offered, Glickman believes there's a lot that all schools
can do about piracy.
"I think that universities are uniquely poised to become
much more aggressive players in raising awareness," he said.
Glickman also thinks that universities can do a better job of
offering cost-effective ways for students to download movies.
"If people (have) the option of getting legal material, they are
less likely to download (things that are) illegal. If (the MPAA)
finds there is a lot of piracy occurring at these schools, it's
going to be embarrassing for them."