Monday, February 2, 2009

Cambridge: Darwin's rooms and the Rap Guide to Evolution

What was that we were saying about forgetting about Darwin? What nonsense! In fact, readers might be interested to know that Darwin's rooms in Cambridge are being nicely restored for the bicentenary. Read John van Wyhe's ongoing accounts of the process here:
With luck, I might get to see the rooms when I visit Cambridge a week today, leading a "Darwin's roadshow" party of visitors, which will include two hip-hop artists, Baba Brinkman and Greydon Square and two people involved with the Dover trial, Lauri Lebo and Cyndi Sneath (one of the plaintiffs). 

We will be doing a bit of Darwinian tourism before the show in the evening. The show will include one hour on "The Devil in Dover" from Lauri and Cyndi and then will conclude with the world premier of "The Rap Guide to Evolution". 

I have seen some of the early drafts of the material from Baba and it looks very exciting, particularly as Baba has grafted some of the evolution material on to existing hip hop tracks. For example, here is a snippet of the lyrics from Baba's I'm a African (which draws on a Rap song of the same name by Dead Prez--if you follow the link, watch out for explicit lyrics).
I’m a African, I’m a African
And I know what’s happenin’
I’m a African, I’m a African
And I know what’s happenin’

1 No I wasn’t born in Ghana but Africa is my mama
2 ‘Cause that’s where my mama got her mitochondria
3 You can try to fight if you wanna, but it’s not gonna change me
4 ‘Cause it’s plain to see, Africans are my people
5 And if it’s not plain to see then your eyes deceive you
6 I’m talkin’ primeval; the DNA in my veins
7 Tells a story that reasonable people find believable
8 But it might blow your transistors; Africa
9 Is the home of our most recent common ancestors
10 Which means human beings are all brothers and sisters
You can pick up a sample of Baba's music here: a track called Natural Selection here (complete with samples of Dawkins as Darwin!).

After Cambridge, we take the show (and our Darwinian tourism) to London (Tues 10th), Birmingham (Darwin Day itself) and Shrewsbury (Fri 13th). The shows are aimed mainly at schoolkids and students, but if anyone lives near these venues and wants to come along, let me know. It is going to be an awesome bicentenary celebration!

Oh and I must remember to thank the British Council for making this all possible!


jt said...

Where's the performance in Cambridge? Any link?

Mark Pallen said...

As we are using University of Cambridge facilities, on the understanding that the event will be for staff and students at the university, I am reluctant to invite the general public by posting an open invitation. But e-mail me on and I will see what I can do.