It is quiet
Just bird calls around our camper van
Gentle dusk drawing down
Ginger tea comforts
The mind is not quiet
Assimilating a day of images and conversations
Slowly connecting conflicting concepts.
To make the most difference
Nine hundred pans and pots
A mountain of blankets
A staircase of tents
Boxes on boxes of tins.
A light sandy pitch for football
Scattered with empty tear gas canisters
Populated by a cast of hundreds
Playing, laughing at times, curious
Singing, looking for ways out, sad
Questioning, why are we here, smile.
It is Gods will.
The main road passes by cafes
Water taps, simple shops,
Stagnant grey water
Trying to make a sense of it.
As I do.
I am free to go where I want.
They are not.
I’ve started to pack and collect the gear I need for this rather mad journey.. loads of sessions, shows and meetings in 3 different cities… all working up to a plan for the long term development of community music in the region…
So today we started a 3 day planning process at More Music to gather together our key staff and share and discuss the plans we are developing together. This is the start of a new journey for us all and we knew that we had to give some time to the starting point. The learning of many years working is that the end result is as good as the planning and thought that goes in. We have spent over a year working up to this point with funding applications, business plan meetings, focus groups and discussions with friends close and far away. Now we have to share that with our team and get everyone on board and understanding the concepts and also the details. It is exciting because if it works it will free many people up to do what they do best … whether that is being a technician or being a percussionist, a singer or a songwriter, a guitarist or a producer, a designer or a finance officer. And for me fundamentally it will be about letting go. Very exciting.
Up at 5 for cake and coffee before heading to the airport. Only Evany is awake and comes along for the ride!
Stopping in Brasilia I ride into the centre which is quite extraordinary in it’s simplicity of government design. At the Museum there is an exhibition that shows the terror of the destruction of the Amazon. Here are some of the images…
This is not something we can ignore any more and later talking with Jez on Skype from the airport he remarks on the power of the image that we wrote about earlier – driving form 8 hours through land that was once all forest. I wonder how this project can work on this in any way ?
This is our day for thinking about the processes and events and considering how we might take them forward. We sit at the kitchen table and make a light list of topics and in doing so start to discover different words that we use. Memory or documentation, formacion or training, gestours or creatives, mediators or partners. Dan’s pedagogy is developed and thought through and has taken many years to develop into a complete and reflective process. In the same way as me and Kathryn have been thinking over the last few weeks we have a very complete and well considered methodology though it may not be quite written down in the same way. We look at the finances, the recordings, press and photos. Images and music are a critical aspect and a great deal of care is taken to make sure that there can be no misunderstanding from the community. When there is such continual and massive exploitation of the Amazonian region there has to be transparency and consent for anything that is taken away. I delete all the photos that Dan has taken and that have not been approved by the community and these will be sent at some point in the future. I share the key concepts and themes that Kathryn and I identified before she left – these include the following
Transformation of community through cultural activity : Youth leadership and empowerment : The creation of democratic space : Communication of pedagogy : New aspects of reflection : Intercultural development
We then work through the sessions one by one with us both giving critical thoughts about processes and trying to imagine futures. It is extensive and I hope it will help me to make a simple but effective report.
Lunch at home and then a walk in the heat to shop for a few instruments and a pandeiro to enable me to continue to learn and develop my new found skill!
The evening is to be back in Botteglia’s gallery where there will be a ‘ronda de artistas’ . I have prepared a slide show that includes Morecambe work (with a particular emphasis on how we fund the work and sustain the building) and the Maraba process (with a focus on the young people and ideas for the future of the project).
There are 9 people and it is intimate. We start by sharing thoughts and stories about our relationship to music and then each sing a song or a poem.
It is gentle, thoughtful and Evany and Matheus listen with a mature attitude.
The slide show mixes images and songs and provokes questions of all sorts that we try to answer. This group of people are trying to imagine a city that will survive and develop culturally despite the potential negative impact of the new rich people who will inevitably invade. After the slides show we talk and share more music. Would this be an interesting concept to try in Morecambe. It is almost like a Paris ‘salon’!
We leave and go for a final light meal on the Orla where Dan, Manoela and I talk a little longer over a cachaca or two ! Back at home I load up another set of images, pack and make ready for an early leaving.
My overwhelming sense is of a deeply successful and powerful trip.