This is the surprise extra session where we expect to be working with about 7 teachers in 'foundation'. A regular weekly session led by the pedagogic coordinator when they share and discuss learning. It was agreed yesterday that the morning band would come along so that the sharing that I was to lead would become more musical than just talking. in the end by the end of the session we have had over 60 people in the room and have played music from all over the world and found much common ground in our attitudes and aspiration about learning. Fascinating. We are in the auditorium - a circular room packed with chairs within which we make an intimate space for playing and talking.
We all introduce ourselves and the it starts with the band of 10 players (kit / bass / guitar / 3 x trumpet / 3 x clarinet / alto sax) playing some arrangements - James Brown / a Bossa / Girl from Ipanema - and I join in on the last tune and do some soloing ! It is very friendly and the atmosphere is set for a good morning. I then lead an arrangement of an Irish reel - the Old Torn Petticoat - which has only 2 chords and becomes very lovely with the bandleader (trumpet) soloing on top and a teacher getting her fiddle out and improvising around the tune. We all reflect on the process - I talk about how we work a great deal in the context of no written music in order to aid listening and spontaneous creativity. This progresses to the slide show if images of our work - which becomes musical at various points with rhythmic games and songs.
As this finishes another group of young people come in and sit listening as we move onto discussion about what music the young people like and what is considered popular culture and what songs they have in common. A 'Potpouri on Carimbo' arrangement is then brought out and played and focuses us on the region and the key music here.
All the music making is surrounded by some discussion that allows us to reflect on why we work and how we work - what the similarities are and where the differences allow us to learn from each other. By now there are probably 50 people in the room and I suggest some singing and playing to bring us all together. We do 'Great Day' and then travel to France (with the Bombard) and China (with a lovely instrumental and sung version of Molihua). Back to Africa with my favourite song, "O Le Le" that then develops into a samba version. The discussion after this is all about the denial of the roots and Afriacn connection, the denial of the wreckage of the indigenous population, the separation between Old Maraba / Cabelo Seco and the new Maraba. We get into deep territory in a very interesting way and the conversation is quite equal with many voices being heard. We ask for questions many times and this opens other agendas. After 2 and a half hours we close the session with thanks and promises of future collaboration! Fascinating.
Conversation with Dede
After a beautiful Amazonian lunch of vegetable soup with Jambu we have invited Evany's mother to come to talk about the potential summer visit. We take our time to introduce ourselves and open the conversation with a light touch before starting to imagine the visit. If it works out it will be her, Evany, Dan and Mano coming for a week or more to the UK before going to the IDEA conference in Paris. It becomes an exciting prospect. I wonder whether it will take place. They have to find the funding first ! I CAN imagine it.
2 music sessions..
By the end of the evening my lips are exhausted from playing 2 x 90 minute session at Cine Maroc and then at the house with the Sopras. New tunes, fun arrangements and a lot of play. 15 kids at the Cine including a the group from yesterday as well as some great players from last year who came to join. The young Sopras were quite tired but they are grasping the tunes and we wrote a new section to the tune, Chuva.
The night ends when the cinema showing is interrupted by a random gun shot in the street outside our house and we stay indoors for a little before heading for fish supper at Anna Louisa bar on the river.