Sighthill, just north of Glasgow's city centre, is a dismal place. Built in the 60s to replace sprawling slums, by the 1990s it was hardly better than the housing it replaced. Feral children would lob eggs from the twentieth floor, the elevators were piss-soaked and shit-stained, and the best view from the block was the cemetery to the north.
Before it became a haven for Kosovan refugees, the Royal Infirmary used the Sighthill tower blocks to house its foreign medical students. Glasgow, with its bloody awful diet and natural tendency to heart disease, teaches the world about coronary care. And into this drab, scary world came Daniel Aliangana.
Daniel is a medical technologist from Eldoret, Kenya. In 1994–95 he was studying at the Royal Infirmary. He recorded these tracks in his spare time, and gave me a tape before he left for home.
Daniel recorded these on a double cassette deck, carefully overlaying each track by recording live over the top. He used a borrowed classical guitar, an electronic keyboard, and some kitchen objects for percussion. He played the guitar almost upright, propped up on his left knee.
There are occasional harmonies which might have been provided by my wife's former flatmate, Grace. Grace is also from Kenya, and is now an internationally-known doctor in Nairobi.
I don't know where Daniel is these days, but there's a Mr D. Aliangana listed as Chief Technician in the Department of Medical Physiology at Moi University in Eldoret. Wherever you are, Daniel, I hope you are well, and thanks for the music!
- Contributed by: Stewart C. Russell