The Sounds of Mombasa

While I sit down at the kitchen table to write I can hear a mixture of sounds creating such a wonderful city rhythm. There’s lively music that blends together drum beats, chimes, a xylophone and other instruments I can’t quite make out. All these instruments play together and form such a coastal African vibe. It makes me want to venture out and find the source.

There’s a rooster crowing every few minutes or so. One of my dreams is to have my own chickens and this feels like a partially filled dream – I’ll take it. There is never a moment here in Mombasa without the melody of songs from a collection of birds. If I was an avid bird watcher I feel like I would be in heaven here. The abundance of and diversity of birds is a wonder in itself.

There are the songs sung by children walking by or peoples laughter. Children playing outside while I overhear and try to translate their Swahili words. I’m afraid I can barely understand as they speak far too quick for my beginner Swahili to catch up. This city is so full of life. I can hear all of this from the kitchen table while drinking my tea.

Islamic prayers will be played out in the night over loud speakers from a nearby mosque. These hymns and words sound so peaceful. They match the Arabic architecture and feeling of this place. It seems as though, after the nightly prayer is finished, the sounds of this city change. The boisterous life that was once present shifts into one of calmness, with new sounds awakening and the old to sleep. The air is then filled with small, consistent chirpings of various insects and palm fronds blowing in the warm, light breeze.

I can’t help but feels so lucky to be surrounded by such melodies and music of this city. City sounds of Vancouver have their own poetic merit but there’s something about this place that can’t be matched or compared. I feel there’s nothing else quite like it and I’m sure to miss it when I go. This beautiful city music .


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