A couple of years ago, I was woken one morning by an intriguing collage of sounds. It was in Stone Town, Zanzibar and I was staying in a swanky apartment on one of the major roads in the old metropolis.

It seemed like a large metallic object – such as a trolley with racks of produce, was being pulled by a horse or donkey on a cobbled path. Meanwhile, the Muezzin was intoning a call to prayer from a loudspeaker. The accompanying dawn chorus was exceptionally striking and resonant.

I couldn’t sleep while this was going on. The sounds felt like a potential source of inspiration for a new piece of music. On the other hand, my body was unwilling to spring into action. I needed to get a digital recorder to document the sounds, but I didn’t get out of bed.

‘It will happen again tomorrow’, I told myself. I woke up at a similar time on subsequent mornings. Did I hear anything like the amazing racket that I found inspiring? I guess the answer to that question is obvious.

People talk of ‘seizing the moment’. Once in a while one, goes through an illustrative experience that makes the idea understandable.


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