Travelling and working. Sleeping and waking too early on so many mornings.
Either the traffic or the light wakes me.
First meeting this morning is for breakfast with Bill (husband of HK Clore Fellow Selana who has been on a placement at More Music this year). He is a singer in the HK Welsh Male Voice Choir, a wine connoisseur and works in management. It is interesting to see yet another side of the city as he bemoans the excessive rents that have forced him to move out of his apartment as Selana is working in the UK and their need for a base here cannot justify the huge cost of property.
2 hours later I am finally sitting with Sister Shang, my very good friend Wingo's mother. Over the years I have heard many stories of her life in Sham Shui Po as a fruit seller and now I am able to meet her and actually conduct an interview about her relationship to the district. Working from the age of 6 she opened her stall 7 days a week from 11am to at least 1am - no days off. She is a beautiful caring soul who makes sure our tea is topped up with water and shares her knowledge and thoughts about living here. It is lovely.
Research - hmmm. Do I know understand how to do it ? Have I been doing it all my life in my role as a 'cultural anthropologist'? Jordan is now our man on the ground for this very local project to discover 'The Music of Sham Shui Po' and we discuss how he will approach the next 4-6 months of interviews and start to agree on the 'outputs' and method of reporting. I am keen on a series of personal portraits - one for each of the people we interview - that focus on 5 areas
1. Relationship to the district
2. Music information/links
3. Interesting stories
4. People we should see
5. Festivals/rites of passage
Mok joins us and we agree a way forward - this trip has really focussed this whole project in a new way.
This is a drumming project in a very poor and underprivileged primary school where Monique and her NGO have raised funding for drums and 30 sessions run by Angus - an APA graduate and top percussionist. We sit and watch and listen as he keeps a total focus on the intention of the drumming movement. He takes time to ensure that the hand, the arm and the whole body are aligned behind the stroke. The kids listen in a very disciplined way and with respect. Good to see. He is another musician for the CM network!
My final meeting is at another NGO called SOCO - 40 years old and a radical community organisation that works without government funding with the underpriveleged communities of HK and particularly in this district www.soco.org.hk. Please look at the website at some of the photos of very disturbing lives in this crowded city. Annie is very interested in a musical element to their next project with ex-offenders called "Confessions". Let's see who I can connect her to!
Now my feet are tired after tramping though neon lit streets back to the CCCD office to sort the finance out for this trip. It does pay it's way in a variety of ways though earnings from lectures, workshops and a good fee as an advisor for the local project.
Finally an evening out with Amanda and Yin - a beautiful couple! I have known Yin since 2005 and we have worked together most years either here or the UK. He is a brilliant composer, performer and arranger and a top character on the quality music scene here. Amanda is a graphic designer and they both visited is 2 years ago for a residency and I got to know her very well and she has helped us order many flags for the carnival band !!! We eat at a fancy French restaurant and share stories and dreams!