art and  community art


Posted in: by Pete Moser on 22 November 2016
Tagged with: HK November Songs

Todays writing will be short.
A little weary.
Two stories.

Two community artists go to work in a community where they are working with elders to create and celebrate the traditions - the songs, the crafts, the working life - in order to both preserve and share the uniqueness. They are both excellent workers and have different skills. One is a fine artist who exhibits regularly and is passionate about the quality of the art that is produced, the transformance of the everyday into something that could last forever and would be as at home at MOMA as in a local community centre. The other is an expert facilitator who can make friends everywhere, knows how to ask the right questions, is used to working in many art forms from theatre to community visual arts, from dance to music. They work together and enlist the help of other artists to focus the engagement and research into both a fine art show (that the community half understands) and a banquet (which the gallery elite half understand).
My working life travels this road and my morning coffee conversation with Evelyna as ever examines this discourse.

A open community music workshop for students at a university. I set up the room for 10 with instruments ready for anything. I plan to do rhythm, sing and make songs and give people a experience of what it is like to be in the community - making music for the first time. There are 7 people to start - a very mixed group of ability and focus - I ask 'why are you here' and they have all read the poster and give good answers - curiosity is the key. In an hour we experiment and 'play' yet the music never quite gets there - the song is surreal in it's lyrics and it's tune, the beats never really synchronise and singing together does't seem to be an option. It is a fragile space. We take a break and 3 people leave and another 3 arrive. We start again and it all changes. The new people are immediately there with creative thoughts, focused rhythmic playing and voices that shine. The beat is good - we make a band, the singing sweet and in 3 part harmony and we transform the surreal lyric into this rather poignant love song.

It's raining outside as me and Rebecca (from CCCD) travel back to the office in a GoGo van and reflect on the strangeness of those 3 hours.

In the burning rain on that dangerous walk
I lead you to safe spot
Do I really need to know your name

Sad rain falls on my lonely walk
I see you behind the blue curtain
Do I really need to know your name

Was it a dream, is it a dream
Where am I now

Warm rain drenches a romantic walk
I love you in your white dress
Do I really need to know your name