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Traveling to Music: Pierre Akendengue

Beachfront of Libreville, Gabon
Image via Wikipedia

The customs and immigration officer at Léon M’ba International Airport in Libreville, Gabon began digging into my suitcase all the while asking me the usual questions, what is your purpose for visiting Gabon, where will you be staying, etc.

Then he saw my music and stopped. You know Akendengué? he asked, surprise and delight registering on his face simultaneously.

Normally, when I travel in the Caribbean and especially in Africa, my Jamaican passport is enough. But this day, it was the music I had with me that stopped the questions and eased me through. (Thank goodness he liked Akendengué!)

I smiled when I remembered that customs official this morning as I listened to Akendengué’s 01 Awana W’afrika, but more than anything else, I’m reminded that music is a big part of my travels. Wherever I go, there’s usually a song or a musician that symbolizes that trip and brings it back to me with all the smells, sounds and sights when I play it again at home.


What are some of your traveling music? What song or musician makes you feel as if you’ve just unpacked your suitcase?

For Gabon, it was Akendengué. I have so many, I’ll make Traveling to Music a regular feature.

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