Some idea for percussion and flamenco
Playing flamenco compas in Phrygian mode scale notes
Overlay palo seco guitar with minimal tabla
So Many Instruments!
What is the key to get more instruments talking with each other and to start articulating a more rich vocabulary. With the wealth of instruments we have available to us for enjoyment there seem not to be enough people around to play them, or develop any consistency to form some sort of band. A banjo, tabla set, guitar, why not!?
And yes, there are distractions and musical references that accompany these instruments. These are deeply rooted and make it hard to get folk and contemporary realms to talk to one another.
Do you consider instruments to be loudspeakers of the past?
Do they communicate similar realities extemporaneously, that is from the past to us in the present?
What role do our expectations play in musical settings?
How do people characterize a musical performance?
It's a picture of an angry mob. What do you see? Is it a society, nation, group or race? I don't know what this picture is. Perhaps a depiction of an event where the caption says it happened, instantly portrayed as truth. With every view on the Internet, every musing, the conversations turning into spokes, the ire of the thread ebbs or flows, the charts look wrong in one view but right in another. Who really cares? The statistics of our media habits aren't so revealing anymore, so who is advancement of technology and communication really for?
In the past twenty years, what has been the effect of mainstream communication on me, as an information bound human being? I don't know - I have grown up in its cocoon, and I've never looked outside it. In the past ten years, I can say the expansion of the Internet and the 'us' reaching out into it as the intrepid explorers we are, are tangled in a trove of media and showboating, circus tricks, fatalism, more. Its staring back at me from a screen was a nod, that hey you can trust me, but, it has a view into my life; and there isn't always the same person on the other side. Any source will entertain a solution for any thought, worry, or distraction and all its derivatives (i.e. automated software to appease your pains). I feel tethered to this web, and what I'll call real and potential communities. There is the community I know, and its virtualized impression on me through various platforms, and a larger community that is a part of an unknown network of people I could have known at some point in time, but I'm not really sure I have ever known them. Does knowing someone mean you can trust them? That depends on your definition of 'knowing'.
We have a limited vocabulary that doesn't articulate change in things and the environment very well. We use appendages of the primitive customs of our languages, and we have come to employ the most vague and the most absolute terms to describe our world, as it has become abstracted away from us by graphical information.
What Unplugged Flamenco Sounds Like
Rarely do you get to see a flamenco guitar solo up close and personal. The cante was equally impressive, and it was a treat to be present to what was for me a feat of modern flamenco interpretation.
What really struck me Sunday at a popup show in a dance studio, was a sensitivity to every note and the reverberation of passion in the room.
Guitarists: David Vargas and Ángel Ruiz
Cante: El Londro
The quality of the guitar was superior and that was seen in the refined technique and posture these guitarists have cultivated in order to become great communicators in flamenco. There is no better reminder than witnessing sheer mastery of the guitar.
Some things I noticed:
* shifting the guitar position for strategic comfort in playing certain techniques. bar chords can be more comfortable with the guitar body resting on the knee, the arch in the air. Same may be said about picado. In my opinion, when the guitar is most secure is when it has more contact with the underarm
* balance, again this is a prerequisite. You have to know your preferred positions to be able to shift the guitar during a song
* dynamic, shifting the volume as required for emphasis of the guitar or an extreme moment in the cante
* efficient thumb technique, using the wrist and inertia to bring the thumb into contact with the string
Best Moments of Skydiving
3. Being so preoccupied with memorizing the safety instructions that I called my instructor Rich by the name of the other instructor, Robby the whole time. I did not realize it until I was back safely on the ground, undoing my gear.
2. Feeling a sense of love and wonder in the utter abandonment of my better senses through the entire course of the freefall.
1. My friend having a good time for his birthday and not being too down about his video footage getting lost because the instructor's video camera fell out of the holding case during the descent.
0. Napping on my floor after the chain of events
Thanks to Skydive Golden Gate that made this super fun!
Me on SoundCloud, almost
I've got to check how many waking hours I have to actually embark upon recording experiments with tabla and flamenco guitar, and try to figure out a common language.
There are quite a few tracks I would like to upload, and explore in future recording sessions. I'll keep track of a few here:
ornament for Fandangos
violin and Soleá arpeggio
Tangos del titi falseta
Tracks are scattered all over, and I'm not feeling like upgrading my blog plan.
Meklit last night at Rickshaw Stop brought a convincing, brilliant and majestic sound, a wide smile, a variety of instruments, guest musicians to the stage, and managed to capture the audience's love, not only with the variety and unity of sounds, but with a capacity for story-telling and inter-weaving of her own heritage, experience and history into the performance. That made this show so much more special than it would have been if it were just showcasing what the band had accomplished in terms of their sound with Meklit's latest album.
The infectious bounce of the bass, drums, the trumpet and sax interludes, Meklit dancing, Meklit singing, Meklit playing guitar, Meklit playing the krar, a hip-hop duo with a New York friend, bringing the audience back in time into the artist's earlier realm and friendship, growing up in New York loving hip-hop. It felt relatable., and logical to incorporate hip hop into the show. As a kid growing up in LA with many musical influences shared among various friends, I could draw some parallels to my growing up, but certainly they were more forays of a semisuburban white kid into new music, more than a 'this is how I grew up in music' kind of way, making my path through urban music less pronounced.
I left after the show, inspired to listen and play as I only I can using my instrumental knowledge, and notions of time and music. There are a lot of sounds out there, and with so much to choose from, I suppose the real path to authenticity is not in the musical details or motifs that can be taken from different forms--that is the easy part--but in how you are able to project them through your experience..
Cold Stare, Dirty Hands
The exit I took from BART to street level was not the one I usually take. This put me on the wrong side of Market for me to board the MUNI bus to the Richmond district.
I had ascended the Montgomery BART station in an elevator, the stench of piss as strong as any you may have encountered elsewhere, seeming to emanate from all walls of the elevator. But saving myself a trip up the stairs with my bicycle was worth the nasal assault. Walking toward the usual busstop wasn't a big deal, but the busstop was not my next stop, to my surprise.
I crossed the forward gaze of a young guy, sitting crosslegged on a neatly collapse mat of cardboard boxes. It wasn't cold, it wasn't warm, but he was huddled, looking cold, his knees tucked into his chest. Fear was his aura.
Why was this a unique experience, especially for San Francisco?
It wasn't unique to pass a person on the street in San Francisco. What was unique was the invasion of a particular idea, so close to the moment of passing this person, that not turning back to talk to this person in a sea of forward walking working people, who by not stopping are electing to give up on people on the street.
I thought I could help, by offering some food or cash. If I didn't, that would have meant to me, in a bizarre way a confirmation of this scary robotic element in today's human condition, that negating this robotic work life, tiptoe-ing outside the norm would sully or infect us workpeople, that we'd be tempted by compassion to quite our jobs, take up daily pot-smoking, that a human in the street apparently giving up on his self-progress would confirm the scary element of human progress, that progress is being automated.
Emotions are not easy to automate, and perhaps for this reason we should fear AI, as the floating of a person from one emotion to the next, spanning all the degrees of the human experience is something to engage with, not to ignore, no matter which you are, happy or sad, hopeful or dejected.
"I just want some conversation...I'm not crazy...I'm depressed."
And what better place to feel depressed, than downtown San Francisco, a place that feels without capacity for patience, mercy or conversation.
We talked. I told him, "things usually turn around", and I've been cold and alone, thinking nothing will change, but it does, it has. We shook hands. I went on my way.
Write, post, publish, prophet!