17.11.09

out-reached, it was dope


banff centre musicians were trying to outreach the normal society of town of banff today through a small musical adventures at the local high school. but really, who is outreaching who? who are we to be so separated from the very place we are? or to be so far from the very seeds of our own supports- the people around us. see, it's a difficult subject, the death of arts music. it did die somehow and it is obvious that there isnt much interest from the general public as far as classical music is concerned. all these new release budget recordings are repress from the old days, with their royalties expired. the audiences are much older than the performers much of the time and when i see young kids, i know better to talk about kings of leon and 30 seconds to mars than john bull or robert schumann.

to discuss the reasons or the mechanics of this present state of classical music would be way over my head. all i know that is once shown a proper example, most of people i know do not mind classical music so much- now that is when it has been disassociated with the current status quo of the music- whether it being the elitist, academic or dead music. but you know, there is a simple reason why all these literature survive through the time- it simply speaks. to all of us, at certain level, if you are willing to let it speak. and yes, it is the rock and roll of the past. why should we put it in a shrine and guard it? it's not dead body of stalin! it's okay! no state funeral is required. pst.

anyways, tis the mad oz flutter who organized this outting to the local high school and her and i have talked on and off about the idea of music, loosely based on jose abrau's idea of music as society's glue, where the differences are forgotten and participation and communal efforts can finally emancipate the different subgroups of the world. btw, jose abrau would be the founder of el systema, the venezuelan music ed program and ive written something in the past regarding the bolivar orchestra, so that's for another rant. all i know is that im too scatter brained or self-absorbed to organize such things by myself, hence, if the chance comes, i will gladly jump in- trying to make up for the guilt of not being proactive myself.

in last ten years, ive been working in the post secondary education institutions. as student, as a general teacher's assistant, hiring committee, anything and everything really. and it is so easy to overlook the processes of each individuals who arrive at my classes/studio/rehearsals. because there are much immediate works to be done, it's often overlooked who made it to that point, or who will go on without faltering. god knows that i falter at least once a year, thinking: okay monkey, let go of music. let's do something more practical- like coffee wench gig.

but im still here aint i? that objective did not last too well i suppose. secretly i do like playing i suppose. though it is difficult and rather too personal at times, i think music do let me express and communicate with such wide variety of people, it is impossible to stay completely away from it. even if that means i may be passive and being in a mashpit of tool concert (which i really dig)

working with these kids, age 12-15, brings particular challenge. this is town of banff, the town of mountains and sports. it's not a highest priority to stay around music room and be a pansy. it's more likely these kids will run around the field, being the free birds they are. but really, some culture wont hurt them either would it! not that we brought culture. it was just a day out of banff centre, musicians descending with free will to see if we could give them something to hold, to take. to remember and to see one day, that human expression matters.

so the usual. a small demo of performance. group activities and vocal/body percussion exercises, improv, exchanges, etc. and i think my highlight was to realize that at least couple kids felt that we, the artists (what a bloody stiff title), are just like them,that we arent far, nor we are different. just like them, we happen to like to express and be understood. come on, everyone does, with a very few exception of total sociopaths. there was this one kid who commented on exit, 'thanks for coming, you play the piano really sick' which i replied 'i know, it's dope eh.' and you shouldve seen this kid's face. and i could see him cracking into a wide smile, waving and chattering away-

'did you hear? she said it's dope!'

haha, i did. it is dope. it's sick from the little boy's perspective, that shostakovich cello sonata second movement, such a rock and roller (thanks to my amazing partner mr. bearcub who brought the house down with harmonic glissandi and pizzed chords. a proper rocker he is). it's all quite similar- a human drive for rhythm, joy, expression of uninhibited energy and explosion, humour and daring need to overstep the comfort zone. and this boy so carefully thought to be cool enough to pass on a simple compliment to a classical banff 'artist,' and the best expression he came up with was 'sick.' now, that's a real compliment. and for such expression of sincerity, i had no choice but to reply, 'ya i know, dope eh.'

when you speak sympatico, there is such ease and grace in communication. it's genuine and real. rich and irreplaceable. lovely. and im realizing once again, in life, that's all it matters. being open. to offer. to share. not to barter, but to love. cliche, i know.
but it's not every day you know, when they tell you, these snotty early teenagers, in your face with a huge serious grin,

'yo, you are sick.'

dope bro, dope.

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