Tosca and Aida

It has surprised me how much I have gotten into opera. I never really paid much attention to it, other than knowing it is huge – big productions, big personalities, HUGE budgets. It takes years to put on a opera. The dedication, the confidence, wow!

Ronny Ferella got me onto it. He played an Opera (I can’t remember which) as the “background” music after we finished a Socialist Jazz Club show and the drama and power blew me away! From there I made a decision to pick an Opera and take some time and check it out. That Opera was Tosca by Puccini.

I just listened and didn’t watch it (I still haven’t finished a viewing yet) and even without understanding the text, being in Italian, I could feel the drama. It was romantic, moving and powerful. Maybe this is me projecting onto it, you know – right frame of mind when listening to it. I think you can hear music in different ways depending on how you feel, but this really hit me.

I listened to it with my dad the following week, I just had to show him! It was so exciting that it just had to be shared!

This lead to going to the cinema with Ronny and See Verdi’s Aida at Palace Cinema’s. A 5 hour stint, some beer and more drama! I feel more so than Tosca!! This one I know the story, there were subtitles, there was a pre-show talking about the process and the direction it took. Making it feel modern, while still being the same story. Two (actually kinda three) people in love, but from different warring countries. Fuck! What a party. It was the Royal Opera Houses production in London, truly spectacular if you get a chance.

ANYWAY this has got me thinking about the music I like and the music I write. This drama, this excitement, it is in all the music I like. Matana Roberts Coin Coin suites, Any Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Nick Cave, Billie Eilish, Austin Wintory, Lena Raine – the list is ever growing. It’s all about energy. This can come from story, dynamic, texture, intent, harmony, melody, culture, understanding, love, hate, depression, anxiety, again this list is endless. It doesn’t have to come from complexity, it especially doesn’t have to come from what you think others will care about. In the end music (read that as ART) has to come from the heart, whatever that means. No matter if it is an Opera commissioned by the fucking ruler of Egypt or a free improvisation in your a lounge room, it has to have heart in it, intent behind it, whatever that might be.

How to do this is the key to art, and can and should be practiced, right? This is my goal in my artist practice. No matter what the situation, art is energy shared.

Building Blocks

I’ve gotta say, I can’t believe how lucky I feel to have been able to put together a month of playing a quirky piece of music every Friday night. A piece that I wrote to be a game, which the musicians play to create a free “soundscape” based on the rules I’ve set up.

My dear friend Ronny has set up such a beautiful environment in the Socialist Jazz Club. He wanted a space that is community minded and open to anyone to enjoy and hopefully experience something new. It’s happening at Cross St in Brunswick, a band hall trying to be something bigger, but truly not needing to! It is a space where people are free to be themselves.

Ronny asked me to organise the Fridays in October and I was so excited to book 4 weeks of whatever music I wanted – I think I created a pretty great line up of beautiful musicians.

Building Blocks was always the second set and I wanted it to be a different line up of friends each night, I think this has created some really interesting music. The other very important part of this for me was for it to be weird, but accessible! I wanted people to have fun, be silly, feel free! Audience and musicians alike.

One of the Friday’s, I couldn’t believe when I looked up and saw everyone being so committed to this, three people singing/screaming, noise coming from everywhere, dice being through AND people enjoying listening. Fuck I wish I recorded it.

I’m going to put the game on as a physical game, so the rules and materials needed can all be there. I want people to play, I want to do it again! It will happen again. Keep your eyes peeled.

We have one more night tomorrow, if somehow you are reading this on the 27th Oct 2022!

Joel, Hector, Cheryl, Reuben and Gemma playing Building Blocks