Sunday, January 22

One World Week

I feel like I've been in a parallel life in the last 10 days.. still a very warwick life, but not centred around my course or anything in my usual routine.. its been great, but now its time to get back in the swing of work!

Even though my project has been somewhat sidetracked, i was doing lots of singing and performing which i think it will be relevant to write about:

The One World Concert was on friday. In the first half i performed a song alone, accompanying myself on the piano. It was a cover version of a song that mixed into another song, the names are irrelevant, but it worked well. What i found interesting in terms of performance is that i got extremely nervous before i went on stage. This does not happen to me! Its been years since i remember that feeling. And during the song i blanked out, more or less - i dont mean i forgot what i was doing and messed up, it went very well, but afterwards i could not really remember what i'd done. Just a few moments were vivid, making decisions about how to sing particular lines, focussing on some lyrics, but until i see a recording i wont really know how it was. Why? I think it was party because it was a challenge for me - i chose a song that wasnt easy to sing, that stretched my voice, that i knew relied a little on the adrenaline of the performance to hit those high notes. And playing the piano always scares me the most, even though i wasnt doing naything very complex, it was tricky for me. But mostly i guess the venue was daunting - it was in the Arts Centre Theatre, so a proper stage and seating. Holds about 500 people i think, which is probably the largest It was a big empty stage, a walk to the grand piano, far away from the audience and i couldnt really see them cause of the lights, but i knew it was sold out. Also it wasnt my event, i was just doing one song amongst many other people, so i couldn't use all the usual props, distractions, banter, pacing, staging that usually relax me i guess, it was more like 'here's your slot, here's you chance'. In a way i felt more distinct and defined in comparison the very diverse acts before and after me, in another way i felt i had to establish the identity that i wanted to present more forcefully, there was just one song, one impression. It wasn't long enough to develop a rapport with the crowd - that is also why i chose a familiar song. I found the experience quite different, and very interesting. Exciting actually.
Then for the finale of that concert we performed the One World Week song that i've written about before on this blog (that i wrote the lyrics from with sarah and then arranged the music with 6 singers from the gospel choir). That was far less scary, we just enjoyed it. We had done it the night before at the festival's launch party and i really did not enjoy that - it was a very formal and stiff event, kind of like when there is a corporate function and then a bit of music to entertain the sponsors or something - and i think our performance reflected that - especially as it is a capella, and cant rely on a band to pick it up. It was flawless musically, but didnt have enough energy. At the concert people were there for the music and we really performed. The curtain was dropped so we stood at the very front of the stage. Amazing how these decisions make such a difference. People seemed taken by it. We performed it one last time a few days later at the carnival, a very different scenario again - this time outside in the piazza in the dark, just after some fire-jugglers, with the crowd huddled round. No microphones which meant we could move much more freely, and no costumes, we kept our coats on. I felt like a carol singer! That was really lovely, just the joy of singing really, and i could see a few people mouthing the words too!
The played a live recording of the song before all the forum talks. Tha was weird, its not a very background music song, it sounded a bit like noise! But I also did a proper recording of some of the vocals for that song because marco my friend was doing a remix - and that sounds cool! Its quite bizarre - the song is quite a strange one anyway, and with beats underneath it ever stranger, but it kind of works! Remixes, like cover versions, are interesting to consider to examine how the music, in particular the drum patterns and arrangement change the meaning and mood of a song.
Comparing all the various rendidtions and performances of that song i would say it was at the concert that i was most myself in singing it. I had at that moment the least other worries on my mind. The singers were just at the point were they knew their parts enough to get everything right with me conducting them or keeping time so i for the first time concentrated on enjoying my part. Its weird how practical all these things sound, but in the end they are what form the circumstances for fresh performances.
The only last oww event that is relevant was on friday - i was on the judging panel for the one world eurovision song contest, haha.. that was hilarious! Some awful acts and some very impressive ones. The interesting things that struck me though was the overt relationship at that event between national pride and music - each country rooting for their entry or course, and maybe of the songs having patriotic lyrics or sung in the native language or being a tradition music style of that country. I think in some cases at least it gave a lot of emotion to the songs. Then what surprised me was that out of our panel of 6, we were all very in sync in our decisions, withouth conferring - even though the acts varied from an austrian boy with his guitar to an entire italian troop, the ranking was more or less consistent(bar the cypriot-greek bias in point-giving of course) - how did everyone have the same taste, or if really impartial, then isnt that amazing that everyone (not all were musicians at all) valued the same things in the performances?


so anyway, a very busy week (and that was just my little involvement in events! i also went to see 10 forum talks and went out 6 nights in a row..) useful and fun in many ways. but now its time to get back to business!