some thoughts

So I’m blogging during these strange times of coronavirus. If you are reading this please don’t share this post on socials. I’ve written these thoughts here because I don’t want to engage over there. You could argue, why share these thoughts at all? Why not write it in a journal? You’re right. I just wanted to say something but as activity over here is quieter, I thought I’d surreptitiously share a few things…

It’s really odd because in our blind leading the blind lead up to Covid-19 I found that from October – once I had submitted my PhD – all I wanted to do was be around nature. Every weekend I put my walking boots on and stomped around the countryside. I did not want to be indoors at all!

As an introvert/extrovert, I’ve realised I’m actually built for this, strangely enough. The crisis has made me feel much calmer and I know I’m not alone with these sentiments. Anyway, I don’t know what to say, the UK government have handled the situation badly, black and brown people are dying in record numbers.

There’s a clear class divide in terms of those who are being affected – people have died on my road, it’s crazy. There have been several times where I have heard the clipperty clop sounds of horses transporting those whose lives have sadly been taken off to their resting place.

Then there’s the BLM movement that has been galvanised due to the tragic death of George Flloyd, cue loads of white folks rushing to demonstrate that they are not racist by sharing social media posts about how woke they are or how many times they have interacted with black people in their work. Some of it is well-meaning, some I find is really cringe-worthy. I have to limit my time on socials as everyone is shouting about it. Personally, I think it’s time white folks took the lead in addressing their part in all this. I’m cynical about all the social media stuff, what are you going to do outside of this virtual realm? How are you are going to avoid creating temporary tokenistic interventions rather than the labour intensive, challenging, durational work needed to create real change for equality and equity, what if that means you need to step down or receive less cash or commissions or whatever it is? Are you still down for the cause?

Anyway, during these three months, it’s all about the rituals. I really enjoy teaching my composition students and listening to a fair amount of music. High-intensity exercise, walks, Buddhist chanting and reading are getting me through.

Some tracks I’ve had on lock:

Still determined to make a real change in my work – which will take a while. I’m in the early stages of planning something exciting… I have to view the journey as a marathon. Reading an ace book which is a dialogue between my spiritual mentor Daisaku Ikeda with legendary jazz musicians Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. A passage that inspired me is where Shorter says he tries hard to create music that puts people in touch with their deepest hopes and dreams they have given up,  aiming to “inspire courage, so people can overcome their fear of the unknown and find a way to deal with the unpredictable and unexpected. He says the process of cultural awakening is one that must be pursued patiently and there are no shortcuts.

“Cultural exchange raises awareness. By coming into contact with other cultures, people learn that there are many perspectives and ways of life. Such an awareness can overcome long-held rigid and parochial views of culture, which no longer have a place in the world”.

Stay safe.

Hyperlocal Media Music

Hi there!

Framework for hyperlocal media piece will be placed here. So not to use up too much of your time this is what I think we should do:

1. I’ll revise what we spoke about last time. Something about writing a piece for a one man band (Andy is up for being that person). I’ll listen back to conversation and summarise (here) later.

2. How many interactions/sessions would you like? 4-6? Online and offline?

3. We spoke about lyrics being written, anyone up for that? How many verses? Do we follow a verse/chorus framework?

4. We spoke about people being able to interact via social media # hashtag whatever we decided #hyperlocalmediamusic

5. We spoke about a performance happening around BCU

Vinyl Community Collaborative Composing Project

Vinyl Community Collaborative Composing Project

Hey there lovelies! Here’s the page for us to share findings.

Context:

Task 1: Please introduce yourself and what you’d be interested in contributing to the project to the gang.

Task 2: Please share your top 5 tracks which must include orchestral arrangers (soul/jazz/RnB/pop of 60/70s). What do you love about the sound? What do you think are the signature elements of the music you’ve selected that we should take note of for our collaborative piece?

Deadline: 28th September.

Best wishes,

Bobbie

Alfonso, I’m listening to music by Thom Bell on your recommendation, he has an interesting story too! I wonder what he does now? Would love to see these scores, how do I access them, record labels?

Lord ha mercy this as well:
Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” – The Delfonics – starts with french horn and glockenspiel! That brass!!

Read this interview about his collaboration with Johnny Mathis on the track ‘Coming Home” and this stood out:

“Musically, Bell fashioned an arrangement that further amplified the visual cues in Creed’s narrative. “I intended to meet the obligations of the lyrics of what he’s saying,” he explains. “It’s got to match. If the arrangement does not fit, I’m not ashamed to throw it in the trash. Just because I wrote it doesn’t mean it has to be in there.” Each musical component on “I’m Coming Home” painted a vivid scene: the interplay between the bass and drums summoned a train’s chugging rhythm on the tracks while the strings evoked rolling landscapes glimpsed from a passenger’s window. The soft horns simulated a distant train whistle heralding Mathis’ arrival.”

Mission//Misplaced

Mission to the Land of Misplaced Words: “Shebeen Sounds”
Shebeen Sounds research period will collect, via audio and photographs, folk songs, music and the associated memories that accompany them. The audio will form the basis of a soundscape that is played throughout the public residency and the images will form part of the visual projections culminating in May 2016.

For Birmingham Heritage Week, as a Data Thief, I curated the launch of Shebeen Sounds, an experimental research project exploring the memories which reside in self-proclaimed cultural spaces, or “shebeens”, around Birmingham. We are going to work with Afro-Caribbean, Polish, Bangladeshi and Congolese communities to research and learn about their shebeen spaces. In May next year we will turn our findings into a piece of immersive sound and art.

At the launch event,  Shebeen Kings and Queens Caroline, Ken and Ian, told our guests about the project over Congolese tea, curry goat and rice and Polish cake.  I created pink noise for the memory collection room which was interspersed with cosmic themed DJ sets played by Gary and I. The aim was to immerse our guests into a chilled vibe to ease their memories being collected by Mission//Misplaced captain Gaylene Gould.

Here are some pictures from our launch event at Vivid Projects, taken by Marcin Szymczak.

Good news news

For some time now, I’ve been really fed up with hearing about (mostly) bad news via the media, so typed ‘good news’ into my browser a few weeks back,

I came across this website, The Good News Network.

I like the following news stories:

1. Five Things We Need To Teach Our Girls About Female Friendships

2. Retiring Teacher Steals the Show With Hip-Hop Dance Moves, Teens Go Wild

3 . Although my roman catholic days ended with secondary education (I have BIG problems with the church’s views on homosexuality, abortion etc.), I found this news story quite moving. Watching the pope pull up in a rather humble blue ford focus, to bless a disabled woman tweaked the old heart strings. There was no media, no agenda to him stopping the car, I just saw a man using his position to genuinely care for people. That moved me.