What I listened to this weekend:
A band called Agbeko, who play Afrobeat rock-funk twisted together to create the above. It is just a short clip, but I dislike taking videos while at gigs because it distances the audience from the performance – or maybe it is recreating and reshaping what the audience’s role is? To hold up a device that will allow that snapshot of live music to be viewed and reviewed thousands of times is a powerful thing. I wonder if it is changing the live music scene at all…
Anyway, it was a great gig. I loved the way they moved and danced with the audience, and in this number they got us all chanting with them.
What struck me was that compared to their supporting band, who played just before, they were a lot younger and had a totally different stage presence. While the older band was more self-assured and contained, this group was all over the place and got us all involved. Two percussionists jumped into the audience with bongos and cowbells, they got us chanting and clapping and made us come right to the front to dance with them. The barriers between band and audience merged.
Maybe this is because the performers are younger, and regularly inhabit both realms – the audience and the stage. And as far as I know, they are educated at the RNCM – not just on the pop music course but on the classical music course too. The way-to-perform in these two worlds is very different, the classical more reserved, the pop more inclusive and involved (these aren’t moral judgements, merely aesthetic observations). So perhaps the classical musicians among them enjoy breaking free of the habitus of the classical music realm?
So these were some of my thoughts. I’ll leave you with a full video of the performance I filmed above. Immerse yourself in their sounds and energy. Focus on your feelings that arise, and the physical sensations that bubble up as you listen. Do you want to dance? Then dance! Do you want to sing along? Then sing along! Think of the different ways in which you embody the music, and then consider who controls this… You? The musicians? The very music itself?
Feel how your body catches the beat.