You know those conversations, the enthusiastic rants you have with interesting people, often performed over a few drinks in a pub? And the following day, the slow dawn of realisation that you have wholeheartedly agreed to take part in some project or another?
I love those conversations.
Great discussions are often initiated and accelerated by impulse and instinct. They can generate interesting creative collaborations that be simple short-lived sparks or long-lasting affairs. A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation that lead me to take part in an improvised music performance with the PAST collective as part of the May you Live in Interesting Times festival.
I used to sing a lot when I was younger, in indie bands and in plays as part of my theatre activities. Since coming to Britain I haven’t sung much and I had almost forgotten what singing really means to me and what it feels like. I came across a quote, on the Facebook page of the German Krautrockers Popol Vuh, which describes this feeling well:
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
The singing I did for the performance was the first time I used my voice as more of an instrument amongst others. Creating rhythms, simple melodies, whispers of breathing which were looped and layered into the fabric of sound we were improvising together. It was very liberating, the improvisation, and being able to embrace the individual processes of each of the rehearsal sessions we had.
To be able to improvise is to be able to welcome uncertainty and discomfort and allow them to open up new creative pathways. With singing this approach is physical, both raw and delicate at times. This tingling exploration is to be found in other creative pursuits too, but I think it takes more practice for me to find it and apply it to them. The environment has a big impact on this – the often hectic surroundings do not offer me the almost meditative qualities needed for a fluid and experimental mindset. So next for me it’s about practicing achieving this mindset in everyday life and creative practice and letting it run its course.