‘Dear Riri, apba’s in Mexico right now and I promise I’ll bring home a big sombrero for you, one so big it’ll cover your eyes when you put it on. Yesterday we got to go see Mayan ruins and we took lots of pictures to show you when I get back home. We have a concert tomorrow and then we’re going to America. I love you, little wolf.’
Ever since your son learned how to read, Baekhyun has been sending him postcards from wherever EXO is on tour. When they arrive, your little boy runs up to you excitedly and reads it aloud, just a little haltingly at some words. And then you have to show him on the big map next to his bed where his father is right now, putting another little sticker in North America.
Back in July of 2016, I had the honor of getting the opportunity to explore the mayan ruins. It set my mind free, seeing things that I’ve seen so many times before in my history books. It was amazing. PC: (insta) @SofieXOrstadius
Kelly knocked on the bathroom door, craning his head to listen for a response. He could hear the shower running over the sound of Digger and Owen playing the Nintendo 64, and he was pretty sure he heard a call to enter.
He poked his head in, wincing at the steam. “Hey bud, you got a minute?”
“I’ve got a lot of minutes if you don’t mind me showering while you talk,” Nick replied.
For Inna Modja (@innamodjaofficiel ), music and art are more than just a career or hobby — they’re her calling to bring a moment, however brief, of happiness and hope into the world. With that in mind, the 31-year-old singer and her friend Marco Conti Sikic, a photographer and director, started the street art project #wingsforfreedom, in which they paint angelic bird wings on walls and photograph people standing in front of them as if they’re ready to fly.
“The idea was, for a few minutes, let them dream,” Inna — pronounced “ee-nah” — says of the photos, which were taken throughout Africa, and in Paris right after the terrorist attacks in November. “In those areas of the world, hope is the most important thing. You need hope to have the strength to keep on going.” Soon, they’ll take the project on the road to Brazil, as well as Calais, France, where they’re teaching art and music to orphaned refugees from the Middle East.
Inna is so selfless about her charity work that when Instagram @music first calls her at her home in Paris, she asks if it’s OK to call back in five minutes, then profusely apologizes for the slight delay. The reason for the hold up? She had to work on a speech for the United Nations’ International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. It’s a personal cause to Inna, having been a victim of the horrific practice as a child at the hands of an older family member. The event marked her second time at the UN, after she performed there last year with Juanes and Cody Simpson, and came the day before her first proper concert in the United States at New York’s Standard Hotel.
Musically, Inna’s style is the perfect fit for such a global event. Growing up in the northern Saharan part of Mali, she heard the country’s traditional music, as well as ‘60s soul, Metallica, Boyz II Men, Barbra Streisand and many more. “Blues music takes its root in Malian music. That’s why I love American music, because it has a lot alignment with our traditional music.” On her third album, 2015’s Motel Bamako, which was inspired by her trips around the world, she raps in the Malian language of Bambara over a blend of soul, electronic and R&B music.
“I define myself as a desert girl. We are nomads. For me, traveling is a lot in my culture.” Recently, she spent time in Mexico, seeing Mayan ruins and learning about the country’s relationship with mezcal and tequila in Zihuatanejo. As a photographer, she likes to capture the local flavors and architecture, as opposed to just the tourist sites. “It helps me see the world on a bigger scale, so what I’m talking about in my music gets richer because I get to meet another culture, another street.”
Tragically, being a northern desert girl is virtually impossible back in Mali. She still visits the country, but not in the area where she was raised. For the past several years, Islamic terrorists have held that part of the country and banned all forms of entertainment, from singing to soccer.
“Especially as a female musician, talking about the crisis in Mali and doing a song called ‘Tombouctou’ about what’s going on there, it’s really difficult. There are some parts in the country where I wouldn’t go because my life would be in danger. For them, I shouldn’t be doing music, I shouldn’t be not wearing a veil. But I’m a musician. I have to spread the message.“
Excited to have my first feature in the new December/January Issue of Garden & Gun Magazine. I have often read the magazine here in Seattle and dreamed of my first trip to explore the southern US eating BBQ & Fly Fishing/Bird Hunting. When I heard from Maggie with news of assignment I never expected to get to travel somewhere as exciting and far away as Honduras. This trip was super fun and a little nerve racking. Copan is a special place and is far less dangerous than the big cities of Honduras that so often give it a bad wrap. I photographed southerner (originally from Tennessee) Lloyd Davidson & his Macaw Mountain. A special nature reserve nestled in the mountains of Copan, Honduras dedicated to protecting and re-introducing Scarlet Macaw Parrots into the wild. The project has expanded and now includes many other species. Seeing these gorgeous birds flying free at the Mayan Ruins site was truly surreal. Lloyd was such a character and I cannot wait to visit him/Honduras again someday. Huge thanks to Maggie Kennedy for the assignment and to Peter for being my adventure partner/assistant.