Thursday, 22 January 2015

Thoughts about the camp

Thoughts about the camp

Back here in my own little country, the same thoughts are repeating in my head:” Wow! Amazing! Inspiring!”

I feel like I suddenly got caught up in some kind of global song with references from the whole world. This amazing feeling where it’s not about only one culture, but about the meeting between cultures. The openness, curiosity and of course the music that glued us all together. Personally I feel filled up with new acquaintances, new smiles, new music genres and new knowledge about the world and its citizens. Big words – I know – but nevertheless, it’s the feeling that comes to me here back home.

Thank you :-)

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Day 7

Day 7

This day we prepared, in my small group, for the two concerts.

In the large group we tried to make one show out of the malaysian puppet, shadow theater, the stage fighting and the improvisational dance. Challenging, but it became a small little show.

In the night everyone went out for dinner.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Day 9

Saturn Day, the slow as they call him in Indian Astrology. 
Last night for me in Serawak cultural village. Not much of my thoughts got enough out to get written. We had an easy day. Most of us where thinking on how to get a good party in the night so we would have fun without this would be "scheduled".
We have had an ok dinner in a Chinese restaurant  in a near by town and kept quite 'til we would go back in the Permai Resort Cafeteria. We took a few drinks with us and occupied the Permai Cafeteria that was already closed. Very soon, after chatting and sitting there, my friend Eetu says: "Hey, I have a bass line that got stuck in my head, shall we play it?!!!"Eetu grabbed his trombone and in a instant Amos and I joined with a talking drum and a nice pot set from the bar kitchen. Quite soon Max joined us with his sax. Everybody grabbed other kitchen stuff and started dancing transforming the Cafeteria in an incredible dancehall!!
We didn't stop until 1 o'clock i guess. It was the most amazing improvised party ever! 
Thank you all guys!!!!!!!


Saturday, 17 January 2015

Day 8


Its day 8 of the amazing Glomus camp and even though tiredness is catching up, I can see from all the participants that they are really looking forward to the days activities. Indeed today is going to be fun as we prepare for our first concert later in the evening.

We were supposed to be listening to the founder and director of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, Dr. Ahmed Naser Samast, but due to reasons which are given in the previous blog (day 3) he is not here with us. However, Dr. Samast sent us a video message. He is indeed doing a great work in Afghanistan and I personally think it was unfortunate we couldn't meet this amazing man in person. In short he is a complete gentleman who understands what music can do. He stressed on the fact that music should be a platform for sharing, collaborating and inclusion which of course has been the emphasis on Glomus camp 2015. The students who were supposed to join Dr. Samast here also made a video recording of the music they had prepared to share with us here and we were privileged to listen those wonderful students. 

In the general assembly, kind of open forum, the future of the Glomus networked was discussed. It was great for the organizers to create the platform to hear from almost each participant their thoughts and experiences of the camp and for future camps. 

Since we came here we have been working with various small groups and one hardly gets to know what each group is doing or working at but this evening we had the chance to listen to all the groups and it was extremely mind blowing. There were about 8 different groups working with diverse people with diverse cultural and musical backgrounds. In all we listened to music with Arabic, Africa and Asian influences. I should say that the level of improvisation was highly displayed. The most fascinating experience was with the Gamelan group nicely displaying with the Gamelan.

We were humbled with the performance from the local kids. Yeah, we had Nathan Riki Thomson leading and collaborating with the local kids and as we listened to their performance, all one could think about is the unity in diversity. We were surely educated by these kids and this will forever remain in our memories. Vilma Timonen, a teacher from the Sibelius Academy, Finland, couldn't keep this emotional experience to herself and shed tears of joy. Indeed it was an emotional experience with the kids singing songs of peace and tolerance. What then are we doing as reasonable beings and adults for that matter? I hope we ponder on these and many other things that will bring peace to humanity.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Day 6


Today there was a nature hike scheduled in the morning for the Glomus group. When I woke up and saw the buckets of water that were falling out of the sky I had the feeling that it was better to stay inside. When I reached the breakfast café, my compatriots told me that the hike had indeed been canceled. The next half of the day continued in much the same way, huddled under roof or umbrella, marveling at the strength and speed that the rain was coming down. It was easy to imagine being flooded out of the area. The way the creeks changed to rivers within a few hours was startling.

In the small group – cooperative composition with Nathan – we had our first visit by the 20 or so Malaysian children. Nathan led the group with calm, yet strong energy, using almost entirely body language rather than spoken language. Most of the children only took a few minutes to become comfortable with the situation and were then quite attentive and responsive to participating with the group. By the end of the session they basically knew the song that we had prepared to teach to them.

The large group – drama/music/movement/shadow puppets –used the time to begin the process of stitching together the material presented by each of the three teachers. We had been practicing various exercises rather than one theatrical piece, but we wanted to put them together with a sort of story shape to be entertaining for our audience on Friday.  It was decided that the first work presented would be what we did under the guidance of Komrul Hussin with Malaysian shadow puppets, musical theater accompaniment, and dance with puppets. From that segment we would move on to theater fights as taught by Seppo Kalevi Kumpulainen and the emotional body conversations as taught by Jenni Johanna Nikolajeff. We managed in our short class time to choreograph a basic shape for the fight scene before we had to break for the day leaving the full shape of the performance to be completed in the final rehearse the following day.


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Day 5

Almost a week has passed since we first arrived here in Sawarak Culture Village, though so much has happened during those few days that it's difficult to get a realistic sense of how fast the days pass.

The more time passes, the more this place soaks in, literally and metaphorically. To wake up every morning to the sounds of birds, insects, rain - windows wide open (covered with mosquito nets), the air indoors and outdoors one and the same, humidity the ever-present guest and a temperature almost too comfortable in the evenings to sleep in. I have been starting my mornings by taking a dip in the rock pool by the shore, where the roaring waves of the pacific ocean blend in with the rest of the sounds.

This time we missed the "local culture experiences" (events/workshops at the Sarawak Culture Village organized at different locations within the village) because us second year Glomas students from Sibelius Academy were helping out as the "house band" for a Glomas applicant.

The day continued with the regional presentation of the Chinese group, which was –in one word– impressive. The number (and size) of instruments they managed to carry on flights all the way to Kuching was a feat in itself, and also the range and variety of their instruments, the virtuosity and unity with which they performed their music, and all the delicate sounds those instruments produced were all very remarkable.

What really grabbed my attention was what their presenter said, when explaining that those instruments are generally very soft, to be heard only by a group of few people - they are not meant for a large stage, but rather for the intimate setting of playing at the court for the emperor and a select few. This, of course, asks for a very different kind of listening, in which every detail takes on a life of its own.

After lunch we continued working with the small bands. Today was supposed to be the first day working together with the kids, though in the end we were informed that they will arrive tomorrow. This allowed us to work a bit more with the material we have created so far, clarifying various parts of it and developing others.

I was meaning to upload an excerpt from the rehearsal, but the recording was so distorted that it is better not to. I will try to find a recording from someone else and upload it soon.

Later we had a rehearsal with the glomas choir, lead by Kristjof Skårhøj, which was again a lot of fun. Not much to say, but here's another excerpt to get an idea of what we've been doing (this is an arrangement we have done of a Norwegian tune - again, a distorted recording but you get an idea!)

To close the day we went out to Kampung Buntal, a local fishing village, where we had seafood galore at Lim Hock Ann Seafood restaurant. Shark fin soup, squid, prawns, fried jungle fern were all part of this delicious meal.

Today was Antonio's birthday and we, of course, sang him a massive 120-people-strong happy birthday in a couple of languages. When you have this big a group full of musicians and dancers together, however, singing happy birthday is never just that, and having finished the song we naturally glided onto one big jam, people grooving on whatever they could get their hands on, and soon after finding ourselves enjoying an impromptu class in Ghanaian dancing:

(The music was so loud it was impossible to capture this without any distortion - no matter how smart a phone can be..)


Monday, 12 January 2015

Day 4

Day 4

We are right in the middle or this Glomus Camp 2015 in the wonderful Serawak.
I start feeling I'll miss this place while on my way back. The atmosphere among participants, teachers, organizers and local people is so unique that is very easy to keep smiling all day, even when we are tired or feeling crazily humid hot!
The day has opened with the third and final lecture on Fundraising greatly led by Randall. Followed by the regional presentation on Arabic-Middle East music: Palestine, Egypt and Syria.  I had the great pleasure to play frame drum with Islam, Khaled, Mohammed, Maral, Moslem which very soon became my friends. Despite of the various technical issues with laptop and stuff (that were working the day before) we have had a lot of fun. At first I was a bit nervous because I was playing traditional arabic music with people that have played that all their life and I have had much leas experience playing it. At the end without any rehearsal all went great. We played a completely different program from what we talked about. Though I got a good learning on letting things to go. Letting go from playing "in the right way" or filling the moment with expectations. One can very much surprise him/her self.
Towards the end of the presentation, Maral had the fantastic idea to teach a traditional dance from Palestine. It was awesome to get the audience involved as well! So she has invited the audience to the stage and promised she would award the best dancer with a "shal" a traditional Palestinian scarf that can be used in several different ways. 

I would like to share few thoughts I have had today. I was thinking that here we are in this amazing meeting. About 120 people from different countries all over the world. The schedule is very interesting and quite full that actually at the end we meet "for real" only few of them. With how many people have you talked outside of your roommates or far from the eating table?  It is normal to connect with only few, to which can happen to have interesting and nice sharing.  On the other hand  It is totally fine to simply share just simple "how are you?" and so on kind of questions with other people? Universe, as in music, is made of dynamics and we cannot use the same with all. Though I found interesting to be aware of that and ask myself "Am I giving a chance to connect in different ways to people? And in a way I could give spaces to the different dynamics connection to happen and yet surprise myself?"
I have met incredible people and despite the language barrier, communication is strong. Among the others, I found a great connection with my friend Islam. He's an incredible oud player from Cairo, and I am honored to play beside him. i am learning a lot from him. I found not only a talented musician, but a deep "brother" connection. Sometimes words are not enough to express what we want to communicate out there. Easily can happen that even we know English good enough, it is not our mother tongue. Inside our energy body, heart and so on, we can perceive these different layers of energy where communication goes over the words. Through all these we can relate in a high connection with people, listening with all senses.  That's how I relate to the universe. Listening not only with the ears, but with the whole body. Flowers have the shape of the planets movements,  or some of them even move following some of them. And so happen to us, our body is a micro cosmos of the outer macro cosmos.
Listen and surprise yourself...

I send a lot of strength and gratitude to my brother Islam and a safe journey home,