Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Live Painting with Live Music

Sunday January 3rd, 2010  Live action painter, Tali Farchi met improvisational bassist Wilbert de Joode, and guitarist Cor Fuhler at Kunstenaarsvereniging Palet in Zwolle, The Netherlands. 

Tali Farchi has been painting her entire life and has spent her career as a animator, graphic designer and painter, as well as the co-developer of her own multi-media / multi-disciplined show Mo(ve)ment which has been performed throughout The Netherlands and abroad for the last six years.

Wilbert de Joode and Cor Fuhler are improvisational musicians both of which are founders of the Dutch Impro Academy in Rotterdam, as well as members of the dOeK Foundation based in Amsterdam.

Wilbert de Joode, a self-taught bassist is the most active bassist in the Dutch improv scene. He plays with the Ab Baars Trio, Ig Henneman (string quartet), Eric Boeren 4tet (with Han Bennink and Michael Moore),  Michiel Braam (Bik Bent Braam, Trio with Michael Vatcher, Bentje Braam), Trio Fuhler/Bennink/DeJoode, the Chris Abelen Quintet, among others.

Cor Fuhler has been playing piano and organ since he was six years old. Fuhler completed his musical studies at the Sweelinck Conservatorium.  In 1995 he formed the trio Fuhler/Bennink/de Joode, in which he plays piano, organ, melodica, celesta and keyolin.

I was unable to attend this unique gathering of creative individuals in person, but about 36 lucky people in Zwolle were able to brave the elements and be in Palet that night. I was however, fortuate enough to be able to see video that was shot of the performance. You will get no arguement from me that to the casual observer as an artform this amalgamation of live action painting, ala Jackson Pollack and music that is instantly composed can be quite challenging. You might even say it requires an aquired taste.

That said, I contend it is well worth taking the time to reconsider this sort of live performance if you have troubles with it.  Let go of all of your preconceived  notions of scored traditional music and painting.  If you can do that, you will be in for a great treat. The maestro, John Russel of the Winsdor Symphony Orchestra in Winsdor, Ontario said of a similar performance that Farchi was a part of, "It is like being able to see with your ears and hear with your eyes."

This show was everything that a completely improvisational performance should be. De Joode started it all off with his signature thump on his bass, and from there the trio was off and running. Immediately Farchi's crayons and brushes filled with paint came to life. Fuhler was playing a guitar for his show which he plucked and strummed in an almost traditional manner. Well, at least he held the instrument like you would expect most guitar players would do, except when he played it with a bow in the same position as de Joode and his bass.

The set went non-stop for nearly 50 minutes. Farchi, de Joode and Fuhler were each lost in their own worlds of sight and sound while at the same time remaining totally aware of each other and all of the molecules and vibrations of sound and light that were in that room.

The sounds that come from de Joode's bass are truly amazing and the contortions he goes through to create them is as marvelous to watch as it is to hear. Fuhler's guitar was strummed and plinked and twanged. Stripped down to it's raw stringy sound, if nothing else, it was pure, and the hollow body also served as the percussionists drum. The trio was rounded out by Farchi's intensity that is focused on expressive response and the passion of being in the moment. Her marks which were all projected on a large screen for all to see, and even if it were not the case, she has so much energy that it usually takes at least two musicians to equal her chutzpa.

Those that were there last Sunday should count themselves lucky. There are at least three more performances like this one planned for the remainder of 2010. The locations have yet to be announced, so I would suggest getting on Tali's mailing list (anipo12@gmail.com) so that you can find out where the next happening will be.

This sort of unbridled creativity and expression is a beautiful and rare thing.