(Originally posted last 04 June 2017 on Facebook)
It’s really great to be part of the New Music on the Bayou this year! I met new friends (and new browwwws to count 33 lines with…ummm I should stop this lol), heard lots of music and conversations, mess around with crawfish for the first time (good thing seafood is something my tummy can handle very well), tried speaking Southern and Cajun (hey there, y’all!), and dealt with the hot and humid climate that makes me (not) miss the homeland. Oops.
The bayou is something that I wanna experience more. It’s not something fancy or grand like snow mountains and colourful foliage, but there will always be lurking things beneath what you see on the surface. There’s mystery and the awe that comes with it, and I definitely find inspiration in it.
Now that I think about it, this reminds me of the Yogyakarta Contemporary Music Festivals in Indonesia many years ago (#shoutout). It didn’t even matter how the performances turn out…it was really just about building a community among ourselves at a time when access to such is out of reach or even non-existent. I’ve seen how Monroe and Ruston music communities converge together in one space when none existed as far as people have told me (of course, it should be more complex than what’s readily seen but that shouldn’t get in the way nonetheless). I think it was like that years ago in Southeast Asia when this new generation of composers and performers took part of something way bigger than themselves, and it resulted to an emergence of new music scenes, of new relationships, of new expressions of solidarity and community. It looks like that’s where Monroe and Ruston are at right now: the NMB is a new music festival, but it’s also community work and public engagement at the basic level, located in a setting far away from centres where it’s just convenient to go and leave and not look back…it certainly makes me want to take part in this project all the more. (Yes, Canada peeps…this serves as an invitation for y’all to take part too).
Thanks Mel Mobley and Gregory Lyons (festival directors) not only for literally performing my piece, but also starting something potentially enriching for the lives of people in your communities. Y’all are the best. Keep it up.