The Official Sound Symposium XVII Blog is live! Throughout the festival, we’ll be posting reviews and musings about some key events, written by our guest bloggers Lori Clarke, Kevin Hehir, and Michelle Bush. Stay tuned!
Concert: Trifolia; Ken Aldcroft & William Parker // D.F. Cook Hall, MUN
by Lori Clarke, July 6th, 2014
Last night after a demanding day I finally arrived in my seat at the D.F. Cook Hall alongside my dear friend Louise Moyes (who this year is performing in Boreal Breaths and Steps on Monday and Friday afternoons). We were looking forward to hearing William Parker, who I have enjoyed in past performances in Montreal and San Francisco, contexts and details blurring in my mind but an emotional, guttural memory somehow intact. I hadn’t heard Marianne Trudel live before tonight nor her trio Trifolia. Trudel arrived on stage and talked to the audience as though we were in a more intimate setting, sharing details of her day and connecting. Trudel opened, giving thanks for the opportunity to be here and for the privilege of playing with bass player Étienne Lépine-LaFrance and percussionist Patrick Graham.
Then the three led the audience on a hike, climbing in and around and through structured and open improvisations and compositions. Later Trudel invited us to name the pieces ourselves, partly in jest, partly as a way to balance talking about work and throwing out the verbal, allowing rhythm, texture, space, tension and harmony to be without further signs.
I take Trudel up on her offer and name their second composition Traces d’Horace as it brought to my mind the aura of pianist Horace Silver, in terms of its deep groove invoking movement of bodies. This piece brought up Horace Silver not in terms of a “sounds-like” but as traces – traces authentiques (Levinas). Trudel’s playing and composition honour the traditions and sounds of her teachers and foreplayers across time and culture, while revealing and revelling in new voices and implications. In this piece Trudel’s percussive hammering, both strong and tender was held in tension with the sensual touches of Patrick’s hands against metal, wood and skin and the alternately unison and laid down countergrooving of Étienne’s bass.
Traces of Ornette appeared in another piece in which Trudel limited her approach to a mounting counterpoint between left and right hand; an exercise in harmolodics and the heart. At all times the communication between the bodies of the Trifolia three were seen as beams between eyes and faces, the joy of the endeavour palpable.
The second to last piece was an organic ever-building groove celebration that, as I reflect this morning, reminds me of the question “Can we handle the powerfulness that we are?” The suggestion that comes to mind in reflecting on increasing joy, energy, well-being, love, is what we most fear is not failure, but success. Can we let the groove build?
The “set” was not set by Trudel in advance she is experimenting with throwing out the set list. The arc of the concert works, the work sets itself. The final piece was a short, tender piece of water and the heart, a clear ending.
William Parker and Ken Aldcroft
From where I was sitting, Ken Aldcroft’s amp was much louder than William Parker’s and I was straining to hear what I knew were nuanced articulations of Parker. I was frustrated – my experience of the performance was that I didn’t connect to Aldcroft who seemed removed. Stay with it, Lori. Stay with the feeling, which is yours.
When Parker danced from his double bass into his twostring, African (skin?) bass Kora/guitar there was an energy shift. He jumped the energy up to another level, by moving his body consciously, weight in the ground, aware of the music as it exists beyond the realm of perceivable sound. I could drink in the next section a little more there was a shift in the balance between the two musicians. A crack formed in the resistance, an entryway to the edge of the fire. Not an easy set. But ease is not the point improvisers deal head on with resistance, conflict and suffering.
They also enter into a whole lot of unspoken, unconscious material, enter into the dark and move around, cracking it open. Our world is beauty and suffering and this music is a spiritual work a truth work seeking freedom.
Parker is a master and teacher of this work.
“Music is silence. There is no music in capitalism and imperialism. Music is the answer and the question. Particles of music cannot be measured by scientific instruments. Music vibrates. Not all music vibrates at the same rate. Music is radiant. The blessing, the understanding, the fundamental eye revealing the surrender in the realm of brightness. Music sometimes manifests itself as sound.
-from William Parker’s Music Is
William Parker is leading a workshop this afternoon and I expect that the Trudel and Parker Quiet Music concert this evening will be magical and well worth making the effort to attend.