Saturday, November 8, 2014

Tim O'Dwyer soundpainting: a stage filled with color

Circumstances have left me a bit uninspired to add posts to my blog.  Firstly I did not carry along my camera as often as I did before, secondly and most importantly I could not get my head around writing the little commentary to go with the pictures. This is the first attempt in a while. We’ll see how it goes.

On a Monday night we went to see Tim O’Dwyer’s Singapore sound painting debut.  It was actually one of these nights that I thought it would be nice to see something interesting, but I did not really feel like bringing my camera. 

Funnily enough, as we were sitting at Blu Jaz café listening to, but maybe mostly watching the events on stage, I was getting restless. Whatever was going on and around that stage too small to handle it all, was highly entertaining and clearly begging to be captured on camera. 

So much so that I decided to go home and pick it up. So off I went towards what we guessed was about the end of the first set, and thanks to the, always extended, short breaks, I was back in time for the second set to start.

Dubbing themselves Erik Satay and The Kampong Arkestra the band was formed out of an eclectic group of people, all adding their own color to the canvas, with some providing a full palette.

In random order:

Aya Sekine on keys


Julius Dance

Adam Marple Theatrics

Bani Haykal Bass

Teo Boon Chye Saxophone

Sangeetha Dorai more Theatrics

Natalie Alexandra Guzheng

Dirk Stromborg Strombophone

Darryl Ervin Drums

Tim O’Dwyer Conductor


For those who wonder what a Strombophone is, I honestly do not know. It looks like a control for an xbox and it appears that movement and the pushing of buttons create various electronic sounds.

I guess, I do not have to elaborate too much after explaining that I was crazy enough to race back and forth in a cab to get my camera to capture the second part of this show. I want to add though, it was unadulterated fun!

In all honesty most of the time I did not seem to pay much attention to the music. I think for a large part it was more subject to the visual.  Which probably is what sound painting, from the audience perspective observing the director, is all about. The musicians, dancer and actors are responding to the movements of the conductor, improvising on their interpretation of what a particular motion or gesture is supposed to sound like and what color they want to add to the overall picture. 

How much improvisation was involved, well I think I have heard the Blu Jaz menu read out in at least five different tones of emotion, from anger:

to heart breaking sadness:

to serene inner pleasure:

accompanied by facial expressions that could make your eyes pop out

Within no time I shot my memory card full. Here is only a rough impression of a performance to be proud of:

1 comment:

  1. A little omission: please add a keyboard player to the list of the performers. Thanks.