The power of human creativity. Or rather, the ability of humans to make noise. No matter the situation, or the tools to hand. This was spotted by @mahreenkasana on twitter. Give a man a glass of brandy, he’ll sing for a day. Teach him how to make brandy glasses sing, and ahhh…music. Observe:
Posts Tagged ‘music’
Tags: creativity, glass harp, glass music, glasses, human creativity, music
Tags: Arts and Entertainment, music, orchestra, orchestral rock, rock
Thanks to the fact that I have an irregular but frequently regular column on all things that pique my interest or attract my ire in the Express Tribune, means that regular barrages are populating hishamwyne.com. Then there was the story on risks journalists face in doing their job in Pakistan, and the fact the ISI spy agency is not averse to working them over with whip, cane and socio-economic sanction, written for the Doha Institute for Media Freedom So, yes.
But what about here? My artsy fartsy faffy cultural space? Need to show it some lurrve. So here:
It’s an orchestral rock score I and a mate ( a certain Mr. Lamuel, Danish), played while mucking around in a jam session. He’s on the keyboard, I’m on the guitar. I’m doing a dirty rocky blues while he’s making heavenly angelic sounds. In the key of A minor. Still very raw, of course – this is no way a proper recording. It’s just a way of a) experimenting w/ embedding the SoundCloud player and b) showing wordpress some musical luurve.
I’m fairly - let’s just say not very adept – at rhythm guitar. Nor very moved, to be honest. But bluesy lead lines inspire me. Now if only I had a harp/harmoninca in the key of E minor to play over it.
Tags: #BenihanaKUW, Benihana Kuwait, Blogger rights, Lawsuit, music, Tribute
Benihana In Flames by Hisham Wyne
Tags: acapella, art, blue collar, capitalism, copyleft, copyright, Dubai labour camps, human rights, JamJar, Mahmoud Kaabour, Mahmovies, movie convergence, music, Music for the Eyes, Sita Sings the Blues
Theatre, film and art productions can be a mixed grab bag where you never really know what you’re going to find. Some you walk out of feeling justifiably entertained. The start, interim and end being right where it was supposed to be. Others move you – perhaps in inexplicable ways.
#Mahmovies’ third night, chaperoned and championed by the highly personable if somewhat frazzled Mahmoud Kaabour was such a night. It was moving, powerful and utterly humanistic.
Start with the film on showcase. Sita Sings the Blues is a production by yet another author who believes in copyleft and fights against the appropriation of copyright for profit. The film, almost childishly animated, takes the audience through a technicolour riot of the legend of Ram and Sita. The banished prince leaves his kingdom, marks his provenance as a redoubtable warrior, loses his wife as hostage to a gentle villain king from Lanka, wins her back and then disowns her for impurity. She lives untouched through a burning pyre as incandescent testament to her fidelity, but Ram plots her exile regardless to win the respect of his subjects when he finally returns home to reclaim a kingdom rightfully his.
The fourth wall is beaten into submission – this is Ram and Sita at their finest tongue in cheek. Every so often, Sita metamorphises into a busty babe singing 80′s blues to divulge the dietrius of her heart. She also changes into what could pass for illustrations to the Bhavat Geeta – the Hindu holy tome. Interspered with this is the story of a modern day Brooklyn NY couple. The man moves to India to pursue a contract, leaving his girlfriend behind. She exiles herself from New York to India to join him, but eventually gets brutally dumped with a stacatto message: “Don’t come back”. The parallels between the parables, though expertly hinted at, are never expressly etched, leaving much to the imagination. Both stories end in heartbreak, but offer eventual closure albiet incomplete.
But the night was at its zenith.
Kaabour believes in convergence, and follows his screening with a live musical performance. That night the audience, supreme in their nonchalance, reclining on bean bags and living up the ideal of creating Dubai’s largest living room, were treated to an acapella performance by singers from the city’s massive labour camps. The performers were refugees from Dubai’s sometimes gaping wounds of excess, from holding cells at the fringes of the city. They were a small sample of the invisible indivisble little Asians who help build this great city from the ground up, and are marginalized to the extent only Western journos on a quick fly-by in desparate quest of quick sensationalism ever mention them. They are the living manifestation of freewheeling capitalism, where rights and equity must take back seat to the relentless demands of progress, regardless of which part of the world one looks at.
Yet this night these construction automatons, these forklifts with voices, were all too normal. They looked almost posh, with their well-laundered shirts, new jeans, the occasional tie, and accoutrements such as bracelets and shades. Kabour’s exhausted air however spoke volumes of his travails in getting permission for them to leave their camps to perform, and the numerous guarantees required to ensure they would not try to abscond.
They sang their hearts out. Nervous at first and passionate at second, they offered a potent reminder of the talent innate in any individual, be he one who spends his days hefting bricks and living the life of a metaphorical pebble. They evolved, they became; they skilfully belted out Bollywood melodies, songs and ghazals without the crutch of music or even the guidance of a lyric sheet.
We all joined in, with racuous applause and hoots from those who didn’t understand the lyrics, and attempts at croaking along from those who did.
At their best, with their stage fright, impromptu bravado and less than professional timing, they were no more than human. But importantly, they were never less than human. Never did they sink to what they will at 3 a.m this morning as I type this, when they once again will become mindless nameless drones painstakingly hewing a city out of sand. Unnoticed save occasionally, as Kaabour said, when they cross a highway two inches from your car’s bumper.
Tonight, we were all uniquely human. Nor more niether less. And for that, a heartful thanks must go out to Mahmoud Kaabour, #Mahmovies and the Jam Jar crowd. And also to them, those faceless economic opportunists who will spend their lives building in this haze. They’ll be trundling on an annonymous bus to yet another building site by the time I finish editing this.
And we’ll go home smug in the knowledge that we’ve had a brush with Dubai’s underbelly. “Culture, dahlliiink,” as one female within earshot drawled contentedly to her bored male companion.
Tags: convergence, culture, film, JamJar, Lost Figers, Mahmoud Kaabour, Mahmovies, music
Picture a sea of bean bags with a cacaphony of every concievable shape of person reclining on them in pretzel shapes, in an unassuming warehouse, in the industrial desert of Al Quoz. Add three standing ovations for the Lost Fingers, the night’s live musical piece de resistance. Lean over to chat with to your neighbour as if in your living room forgetting that you’re in warehousing hinterland. Factor in a gripping start to the evening with a screening for RIP!: A Remix Manifesto, a film that passionately argues for doing away with absurdly suffocating copyright rules that make it difficult to create and recreate from existing ideas.
Picture all this, and you may come close to the debut night of a series of musical convergence events organized by award-winning film maker Mahmoud Kaabour. An unassuming man in person, Kaabour has acheived a synthesis of two passions – music and film in a presentation that saw barely a soul move even for loo breaks.
RIP: A Remix Manifesto is a film that is so passionate about people’s right to access existing ideas, information and music to remix and mash them that it is forever destined to remain a work in progress. The film’s creator Brett Gaylor requests everyone to continue the conversation by remixing his content in new ways to present to brand new audiences.
The film pulls no puches in branding record corporations and their lobbyists as greedy dracons, not for for their regard for intellectual per se, but for their consistent attempts to squeeze the last dime out of any possible reuse. One of the film’s main protagonists is Girl Talk, a masher phenom who has entertained millions by sampling, breaking and scrambling existing music into new concoctions. By today’s standards, Girl Talk’s work is massively illegal, regardless of entertainment value or that his produce offers no resemblence to source material. The film then moves to the vibrant slums and communities of Brazil where remexing into a unique cultural mish mash is not plagarism but a way of communal creation. The Creative Common licence, now gaining traction in academic circles, was in part an answer to the dilemma posed by Brazil, where rehashing to create brand new synths is a way of life.
The Lost Fingers are a delightful band, determined to have their own mechanically instrumental way with lost tracks in the 1980’s. Having a band that’s gone Platinum play to an ensconced audience in a bijou art gallery literally close enough to touch with a tweezle stick is curiously refreshing – like being invited to your annoying cousin’s jam session but with better music.
Fortunately for those who couldn’t make the first night, Kabbour is nowhere near done. Every week, the Jam Jar will host his strangely compelling convergence of cinema and music, with a film screening followed by a live performance. So mark in red February the 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd, and make your way to the Jam Jar in Al Quoz. Entrance is free, though it does seem to require the minutae of answering an RSVP. You won’t regret it. Who says Dubai is culturally malnourished?