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Kindness One: In France, West African pals share their music and more

September 10, 2013|By Leon Logothetis
  • Tchale, left, and Finnesse, right, extend the hand of friendship to around-the-world traveler Leon Logothetis in Aix en Provence, France.
Tchale, left, and Finnesse, right, extend the hand of friendship to around-the-world… (Greg Pappas )

If music be the food of love, play on.

-- William Shakespeare

As I was walking through the cobbled streets of Aix en Provence in France, I was enchanted by a melody that hung in the air. Captivating. Vibrant. Inspired.

If you’re traveling around the world, carrying no food or money, never knowing where you might sleep from night to night, you do need some inspiration.

I’m doing this journey by motorcycle, a cranky 1978 Chang Jiang model, dubbed the Kindness One. I left Los Angeles on Aug. 10 and have just made the transatlantic crossing on my way to Vietnam.

Intuition guides me, so I went in search of the music and came upon two men busking by a cafe. Transfixed by the tunes, I sat down and sang along. When the men finished collecting money, I approached them and learned they were from Benin in West Africa.

Tchale and Finnesse have been plying their trade on the streets of the world for 20 years. They are driven by their music, their passion and their need to inspire people through that music.

They invited me to join them for lunch and took me back to their one-bedroom house. Soon they had offered me a place to stay for the night.

They played again and again, lifting my spirits with their unique blend of African and reggae music.

As I sat on their couch, I again was reminded me that it’s all about the the connections. It’s the people one meets along the road of life who create the fabric of our lives.

Thank you, Tchale and Finnesse. Play on, my friends. Play on.

Click on a point to read more about Logothetis' journey. View larger map on

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