April is National Poetry Month – its 20 year anniversary actually (and I think the Horsehead Nebula pictured here expresses it best!). Both the flute/percussion duo Caballito Negro concert, Songlines, and the flute and koto concert, Gentle Numbers In Eternity, celebrate this month, with American poetry and essay narratives. Both music programs are a revelation (even after multiple performances), diverse and deep. It’s a treat to dive into the vast world of American poetry, coming up for air with two of my favorites so far, Terrance Hayes and Joan Didion. Gentle Numbers particularly acknowledges the diversity of poets here in the US, along gender, cultural and historic lines – some political pieces too. I’ve also enjoyed writing some of the narratives for Songlines. Words do some of the heavy lifting in building each “house” or musical work, and judging by the feedback, Songlines audiences and composers alike love it.
The Caballito Negro Songlines tour was very successful, and of course we learned a lot. Like, don’t leave all the heavy lifting up to ourselves, and don’t assume you have everything eg. your computer that runs the audiovisuals in the concert. Or the download cards of our EP that arrived late (Day 1 of tour), and belonged to another band. Or the juggling of stage space (big-arse percussion set-up) which necessitates creative programming. We are so grateful to Terry’s sponsors who helped bring our workshops to fruition, where we can reach out to students in such a joyful way.
You can hear our radio interview with Eric Alan of KLCC about the tour program (excerpts and backstories). And you can catch Terry, Kay Hilton of the Britt Music & Arts Festival and me on the Jefferson Exchange on Thursday April 14 at 9am, talking about our concert at the Schneider museum and Britt’s outreach program.
Last weekend I was part of the Northwest Percussion Festival 2016 and as the only non-percussionist (!) in a sea of drummers I found it fascinating. Percussion involves so much lugging around of stuff, and creative problem solving, that it lends itself to communal thinking. The percussion community is by and large a generous bunch, and when professors embody that, students thrive beyond their own expectations. A video (so I’ve been told) of The Shady Lady & The Rebel Frog will be available to view soon. I’m grateful to Bryan Jeffs for including me as a piccolo player, and allowing me a great improv solo. (Composers, it’s lovely to give your musicians creative breathing room…)
May will be a month in Paris (and a little time in London) – meeting new friends, and catching up with ones I’ve not seen for decades (!). It’s my “April In Paris” (leniently extended into the next month) and yes, I’ll be twirling around just like this…