Mama’s got a girlfriend,
Oh the old world is turning around like a top
In a world that seems to be increasing in conformity
These guys visited Middlebury college a few weeks ago and had a truly wonderful performance I was lucky to watch from the first raw, dancing just half a meter apart from them.
Their songs are full of rhythm, passion, honesty and sensitivity.
Full of optimism and genuine emotion. Check them out and see for yourself!
It was a hot summer afternon and the city was sweating. It was my first time in Burgas since I was little, but I didn’t feel like sightseeing. I kept on pulling my suitcase after me as Tsvety and I searched for something to eat.
As we walked the main street we stopped to listen to some street musicians- two beautiful boys playing guitars and singing rock songs in Bulgarian. There was something different in their singing as they didn’t try to sound as the original performers, but sang as if they were the first ones to.
I put my suitcase on the ground and sat on it. There was a little crowd gathered around them in a semi-circle. When they stopped playing we clapped and waited enthusiastically for the next song to begin. When it was over and I once again awoke from the trans I had fallen into, I asked them to play my favourite song.
I felt touched, unable to explain why. Same deep feeling of joy as when my friends and I gather and sing together, mumbling the words we don’t know and singing out loud the songs we love. And it always fels very special, very simple and authentic. And I never get bored.
Tsvety and I left quickly to grab some pizza for dinner and soon returned and sat again to listen. The boys smiled to us and we felt as special guests rather than strangers now.
As I was sitting on the ground, in the middle of the street busy with people, moving determined in all directions, I felt moved. My eyes were catching the eyes of the boy singing and we were both smiling, naked in the depth of the glances, in the song and the silence.
It was a most intimate moment between strangers.
With the end of the last song they asked us if we were waiting for the train and we nodded. They said they could finish a bit earlier this night and we all sat nearby to talk.
Within a couple of minutes, I was drоwning in dissapointment. Their voices were full with sarcasm and the music composed by their words was everything but inspiring. While the first boy was disparaging pretty much everything we tried to speak about, the other one was somewhat modest, but quite disilusioned. He didn’t seem to be happy with his life and referred to his being a musician as doing something for the sake of doing something.
As they talked to us about their fellow musicians, using them and people not caring about good music, the whole situation felt bitter-sweet. The joy was gone with the end of the last verse and was not coming back, at least not before the next performance. I felt sad and I felt offended. In the next few minutes I made the effort to give them something: my own, sincere feedback on their music and the atmosphere they created, which people DID value and appreciate. But it all felt as a cliche. Their souls if opened throughout the singing were now shut, scratching on the surface could only hurt me.
I said we had to go to catch the train and we left soon. No Facebook exchange done and no photos taken.
I can not have small talk, while I’m all naked.
The more I think about this evening, the more I try to find some sort of explanation to ease the pain I still feel remembering.
The pain is caused by the sudden intimacy born in the simple act of singing together and having each other in the hold of a gaze and the abrupt distance created right after.
This encounter shaked me somehow and made me think about being an artist and creating art- just as the noble men of Ancient Greece I expected that the beauty of the music created by the two boys was mirroring the beauty of their souls and intellect. And while this might not always be true, I have the feeling that there is more to that…
Last year when Carsten came to Bulgaria to be with me, but things did not turn out the way he expected them, I stayed speechless trying to figure out what to tell him to ease his pain. What I told him back then was that may be we have given each other what we had to give; we have learned what we had to learn from each other for the moment, and that we had to let each other go in order to be able to share intimacy and love again some day or not. I did not merely understand what I was saying back then. It took me about a month to realise its meaning. But while I was trying to fall asleep one night, I figured this is exactly what I had to understand myself months and moths ago after I broke up with my last boy friend who I kept loving insanely for about two years after. I realised that this is what it’s all about- meeting, getting to know each other, learning, raising each other up, not staying together for the sake of simply being together… And only then Love can be forever, even though still dynamic, evolving…
I believe there are these moments in which a power greater than us takes control of us and speaks on our behalf. Or sings. Or plays. Or draws. Or writes. God that is in us, whether we know it or not, speaks through us, and we ourselves are speechless in surprise. We only have to learn to live up to him.
♥Maggie Nazer is a social entrepreneur, activist, blogger and current Middlebury college student.
Beautiful soul: a compilation of traditional and new rainbowsongs, recorded by Yopi& several guest musicians: Lotta Corradini (violin), Dana Anandana (vocals), Maria Garcia Lora (vocals), Philipp Stegmüller (guitar, vocals), and, performing the reggae tunes: consenso: Alex Kerwien (drums), Stefan Spaluch (bass), Gebhard Schrader (keyboard). Drum & Bass in “If Jah Jah” by Jörn Beckesch
“In Their Own Words” is an ongoing series featuring the experiences of Middlebury students at their summer internships. This summer Catherine Charnov ’13 interned with Universal Records in New York City.
This summer, I interned in the A&R department of Universal Records in New York City. I had previous experience in music marketing, publicity and management but really wanted to understand how musical decisions are made and how artists are found. This internship was the perfect opportunity. Every day, I researched unfound and upcoming talent using online resources and sales charts to present, with a formal report, to my boss for review and the possibility of further research or analysis. I was also in charge of compiling airplay charts and lists of top artists world wide, monitoring sales spikes and online fan bases. I also got to help with miscellaneous tasks such as making CD labels and inserts, setting up instruments and stage equipment in their showcase lounge, and creating manifests for disc filing. We were also sometimes allowed to watch artists’ showcases and critique unreleased singles in listening sessions. Every Friday, representatives from different departments, such as digital marketing, the TV sync team, international dept., sales, etc., would come and speak to the interns for around an hour about what their department was and how things worked. This was extremely helpful in terms of solidifying my understanding of the company as a whole and how each piece of the larger whole fit together. Middlebury prepared me for this internship by teaching me to be timely, responsible, and eager to learn. Not much of what I did this summer could have been acquired in a classroom setting because everything was so hands-on and practical.
What did you learn?
An example of what made this internship meaningful to me was when I got to congratulate Florence + The Machine on her newest album going platinum. She came into the office and we got to present her with a gold plaque etc. It was great for me to realize not only the side of an artist’s manager, AIR representative, and sales team but also how much time and hard work the artist must put in to achieve such great successes. I was honored to be a part of Florence’s celebration. The thing I learned the most from this internship was how hard you have to work and how much you have to really want it to get anywhere in the music business. In A&R in particular— if you are behind the signing of one top-selling, amazing artist, you are golden and automatically promoted. However, if you do not get that lucky, it seems that only persistence and patience are the keys to success.
What are your plans for the future?
I think this internship will greatly impact my future career plans because before this summer, I was wondering if A&R would, after my experiences in other parts of the music business, be a better fit for my interests, and it turned out to be perfect. I would be very happy to get a job after graduation working at Universal Records of for the A&R department of another record label. I love working directly with the musicians and the music they create.
Think this experience sounded pretty cool? Check out opportunities like this and more on MOJO.
When we learned that a gift had been made to help support Performing Arts Series residencies, and ensure Middlebury students would have greater access to our visiting artists, we were thrilled!
The Rothrock Family Fund for Experiential Learning in the Performing Arts, established in 2011, supports opportunities that broaden the scope of Middlebury students’ experience in the performing arts.
Residencies for the 2011-12 seasons: (click on the photos to enlarge the images)
January 13, 2012
Pianist Rustem Hayroudinoff worked with students in Professor Su Lian Tan’s composition class and recorded their works. Scheduled for a 3 hour session, Hayroudinoff generously gave the entire day to provide feedback and recordings to the students participating.
February 16, 2012
Balla Kouyate and World Vision presented a lecture/demonstration for Professor Damascas Kafumbe’s Intro to World Music class. After Kouyate spoke about his family’s musical legacy and demonstrated the ensemble’s various instruments, the students started a lively discussion with Kouyate about his music and culture. The students then spent informal time with Kouyate celebrating his birthday.
March 6-10, 2012
Cellist David Darling‘s visit to campus was the first “student-initiated” Rothrock Residency. It was a jam-packed week, which included…
A student violinist, who had not played for a while but found success playing in Darling’s more improvisational style, is again performing (thanks to Darling’s encouragement during his residency) and sent the following message…
“I had an excellent time this afternoon working with David Darling and I wanted to thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of that experience. I really feel as though I took a lot from his teaching!”
March 15, 2012
Choreographer Kyle Abraham and his dance company Abraham.In.Motion led a vigorous master class in intermediate technique for our students, and also presented a lunchtime lecture/demonstration investigating Abraham’s creative process and introducing elements of their touring work, The Radio Show.
April 9-10, 2012
Dancer/filmmaker Erika Randall was in residence for two days, and along with presenting a lecture/demonstration about her experiences with choreography from both dance performance and film perspectives, she taught a modern technique master class to our dance students, and offered a screening of her film, Leading Ladies.
All in all, a very successful first year. Next year will also include theatre and jazz residencies as well.
Cole has taken our nostalgic reflection on pop music into new realms. Great post.
So I move into this next installment a bit like a warm-up band that showed up late. And my sense of feeling warmed over is connected to what Cole and Matt address in their recent commentaries—that we find our love of pop music through friends and social networks we develop when we are young, as teenagers and college students.
I make this observation at just about 54 years of age, fully aware that my guitar hero days are behind me. But I still love the music, continue to crank it up on my iPod when I am at the gym (despite the hearing loss I’ve already endured), and look forward to our Friday afternoon show on WRMC. One of the benefits of the WRMC gig is (as it always has been) is the ready access to new music. However, the music in a college radio station is of a certain variety, and to get beyond what’s on the shelf—whether it be indie, hip-hop, electronica, or whatever—you have to look elsewhere.
So where do you go? I mention three sources below, but want to encourage readers to chip in with suggestions, because I know how limited this list is.
I am a huge fan of Metacritic, and have been for several years. It assigns a grade to new music (and films, tv shows, and video games), based on an average of ratings given to published reviews of just released albums. For me, this is the best of both worlds: you get the general (meta) assessment, plus you can drill down for specific reviews of a given album. The range of music on the site is impressive, and recently they’ve taken to highlighting the best albums of the month. I’ve also used their database to load my Netflix queue with all those great films I would never knew about if not for Metacritic.
This downloads to my iTunes account every week (you can subscribe, and it’s free), and includes conversations with Times reporters about the latest music. You get reviews, interviews, and the occasional music performance. I enjoy the critical discussion—how does one talk and write critically about pop music?—and I have picked up some great suggestions from listening to it. Plenty of variety and always informative.
This online magazine is pure pop, and the site speaks for itself. Lots of reviews, lists, and other good stuff (not just music). Thanks to Matt for suggesting it a couple years ago.