Soul Cocina

Eco Chef Roger Feely

Monkeys of Pushkar

Nori's vIntage tin monkey toy jams out to music from the "Rajkamal Kalamandir" catalog. Rajkamal Kalamandir was a Bollywood production company started in 1942 by R. V. Shantaram.

Tune: One Monkey Don't Stop No Show by Joe Tex from 1965's Hold On To What You've Got

Tune: Ketjak: The Ramayana Monkey Chant by the Gamelan Gong Kebjar from Bali: Golden Rain
The Ketjak is a Balinese artform that involves a group of 100 or more men who chant and dance with their arms as they sitt in a circular group. Ketjak began in the 1930's and was inspired by the trance dance of exorcism, Sanghyang, a traditional ritual dance from Bali used to chase away evil spirits. Known also as the Monkey Dance, Ketjak performances tell the story of the Hindu epic Ramayana.
Ramayana Monkey Chant

These monkeys seem a lot wiser than this monkey.
Dubya's da Monkey
Check out the video here
Tune: Dollar Day For New Orleans (Katrina Clap) by Mos Def
Tune: Monkey Business

This monkey with a baby monkey hanging from her tummy is waiting for a chance to snag one of the papadams this lady is rolling out and sundrying on her rooftop. The grandchildren help gaurd the papadams and she also has a big stick to protect her tastey snacks from the naughty monkeys.

Tune: Bird in Hand by Lee Perry
This is crazy Lee "Scratch" Perry doing a reggae version of a Hindi film song. He even attempts to sing in Hindi.
Tune: Bird in hand two inna yard dub mash is Wayne and Wax's mash up of the origional talat mahmood and geeta dutt song with the reggae version. Check his commentary here.

Monkeys love mangos

Tune: Monkey That Became President by Brotherhood as featured at Home of The Groove

Tune: Monkey by Jamaican Mento musicians Lord Flea and his Calypsonians from the Swingin' Calypsos record. Check out Deadly Dragon Sound System in NYC's Chinatown to find rare Jamaican records.

Lord Flea was popular all over the world, this is an Argentina pressing of his classic LP "Swinging Calypsoso"

Finally this monkey has done something we can be happy about. According to a recent New York Times article, the United states is planning to lift the ban on mangos from India. This is prime mango season in India. I was sad to discover that on my last visit to India I was not able to try the infamous Alfonso Mango because it was not in season. Hopefully the next time I visit Crawford Market in Mumbai it will be during mango season. One of my goals in life is to taste, share, and cook with an organic Alphonso mango. I also hope to visit the Pune Mango Festival some time.
This fruit vender on the streets of Mumbai in November had nice mangos, but no Alphonso mangos. But I don't think the goat behind him is too picky, he was also eying the mangos with a hungry gaze. Check out the green peppercorns behind the mangos.When Dubya was at a lunch hosted by India's prime minister he was served mango kulfi in honor of the recent decision.
These are some mango kulfis that I made and topped with saffron meringues, inspired by the Taj Majal.
Here is another version of the Chinese egg custard tart with mango. This time a dim sum style sesame cookie replaces the lamington. I hope to make this tart with Alphonso mango some day.

Post Update:
Actually after talking to some friends and rethinking the lift on the Indian mango ban in the US, I don't think it's such a good idea after all. Many poor people in the countryside enjoy the pleasure of eating mangos off the tree in India. Introducing the Indian mango to the super size powerhouse consumers of the US will probably put fences around more mango trees in India. The gate keepers of these fences will most likely not be the economically challenged lower class majority of the country's rural lands, but rather the big corporations who already control the economy. If George W has his way, these companies would be American companies. India's best mangos are already being shipped off to the Middle East. This has raised the price of the mango for regular people in India and introducing Indian mangos to the US market will only increase the price even more. In a country where hunger is such a problem, this does not sound like a good idea after all. Even though India grows 80% of the world's mangos, there is not the infrastructure present to sell all these mangos (poor roads, no refrigeration for shipping, no proper grading system, etc...) So by investing in the mango trade there is an opportunity to better the life of the Indian people who need it most. But history shows that this is idealistic and usually not true. The interest of the mango industry is obviously not to improve the villagers life, it is to sell more mangos and to increase profit. Small farmers will loose land and be paid unfair wages to grow the mangos in return. So, dubya still hasn't done nuthin', I should have known better.

Beatwalla's Rise Up Mango mix featuring old school underdog classics from Nina Simone and others like Stevie Wonder's "You Haven't Done Nothing" and "Big Brother", plus other struggle songs from the mango regions of the world.