It was a sunny but cold Saturday in December when I made my way to Zen Bar in Senta, Serbia, to play at an International Jam Night organised by a dear friend.
It was here I met some fascinating people, who filled me with inspiration and ideas on various things, but most particularly how to combine elements of music and movement.
Dimitris and Dafne are a beautiful young Greek couple who travel around playing music, together and solo. Equipped with a bazouki, guitar, saxophone, a very elaborate sock puppet and an impressive string puppet (both hand made), these guys were interesting, creative people on a musical mission with no boundaries.
Dimitris, from Athens, describes his 'One Man's Noise Project' as follows-
"I do acoustic concerts in houses, squats, open places, stairways, tunnels or any crazy place. What we do mostly is make a big circle and do some singing, music games with improvisation, all together. I worked a lot on preparing 1hour - 1half set of singing-rhythm games/ songs/ theater/ puppets/ stories.. And after that we can jam all together."
When I first read the above description on the facebook event page, I was excited to meet D. Of all my musical experiences, I have never met anyone who offers such an interactive approach. Being a drama teacher I loved this idea of getting the audience involved in the musical magic through the games - which in my opinion would help the audience appreciate the music more because they are a part of it, as well as act as a bonding session, bringing us all together as one through music, with no distinction between 'musician' and 'audience'.
Through our chats, sharing of stories, and generally just 'being', I quickly got a lot of positive energy from the two of them
As well as their huge passion for music, people and sharing, their determination to live for what they love shone through and inspired me to keep on following my heart.
I took some very interesting things from this duo.
I discovered that whenever Dimitris meets new people, he asks them to sing him their favourite song and Dimitris will take from this what he pleases.
I love this element of showing an interest in someone, encouraging strangers to share something personal and something which could contain numerous stories. It also offers
many outlets of creativity, as each individual is offering their 'story' through song, which could be turned into a new medium.
Whichever country Dimitris goes to (with or without the lovely Dafne), he will learn traditional music specific to his surroundings. I love this element of caring and learning. His
desire to learn as much as he can about every place he travels to, through their music, is fascinating. In fact, a lot of his set consisted of 'island songs' traditional to a
specific Greek island where he once resided for a year. This willingness to discover through music is interesting and also inspired me to start brushing up on my English folk songs.
I was most inspired by how Dimitris managed to combine music with movement. Not just through the obvious sense of traveling the world (in just a couple of months he has been to and
performed in Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Holland, England, Germany and Ghana! But through his interactive musical storytelling.
Before their set he asked if, with my drama background, I would join in a part of his set, which consisted of a musical story. I would be the storyteller and could tell the story (which he
first told me) however I wanted, provided I got the audience to join in with specific actions. It was nice story, about the sky being too low, and all the individuals of a certain village were
encouraged to push the sky up with staffs, resulting in what we now refer to as 'stars' in the sky. Whilst telling the story, Dimitris would offer his interpretation / accompaniment through the
This idea of audience interaction combined with music, movement and storytelling was so inspiring to me. I will now start exploring 'musical stories' - I think there is a lot of freedom
to just telling a story, rather than thinking too much about 'lyrics' and whether words 'fit' or 'rhyme'.
One of my missions is to combine all my interests into one (music, theatre, dance and circus) and Dimitris gave me plenty of ideas.
I look forward to meeting these wonderful musical masterminds one day very soon!