Monday, January 10, 2011

Third Day in India

On Monday morning I again woke up around 5am, but I did not feel tired. I used the time to try the USB stick again, and it worked great! I uploaded all pictures I has so far onto Flickr, and responded to emails.

This day would be devoted to music. We wanted to show to the same class as yesterday the music which I had written for the Rivers Movement: "The River Aire", after a poem by David Wilders. The students should then try to find words which were embedded in the music. This was a very interesting experiment, especially becaise these were Indian children, and the music had been written in a Western classical style. The schedule for the day changed a few times, but it was finally set that this lecture/performance would be given from 14:00 - 15:00. In the meantime I prepared a video of this music, with the corresponding words from David's poem shown synchronous to the music.

The internet worked fine, no need to exchange the USB 3G stick.

The lecture in the afternoon at 14:00 started with me switching on my laptop computer, connecting the audio to the speakers, and then playing the wav file with the recording of "The River Aire". 95 Indian English teacher students are the very first people on this planet who hear this music being played. They are being told to write down words and impressions of this music. After 10 minutes it is finished, and they "report" threir impressions. it is amazing how well they were able to capture the spirit of this, not having seen the original poem by David wilders on which this music is based. They mention words like "storm", "calm", "serene", "raging", "animals and plants" (how did they get this one? pretty good!). This shows that music is a cross-cultural language, even if it has some local "dialects". Later we listen to a recording of Indian music about rivers, played with flute and sitar. and yes, you can hear the river there as well, with its waves and flow.

The video of the music is here:

It is to note that this is still an incomplete draft - when I am back from this travel I will add the missing 11 words, and I will revise the instrumentation and composition to make it more consistent.

At 15:00 Surendra and Falguni take Gina, Deborah and me to a tribal village school outside of the town, which is away a 45 minute drive. We see children in their classes, and Gina and Deboray talk with their teachers. I document with camera and video the activities. When the classes end at 17:00, all the children walk out and wave to us. Then we take a walk around the willage. Small mud houses, surrounded by farmland. Women carrying fire wood on their heads, men plastering house walls, and everybody smiles friendly when we walk by. It appears that everybody wants that we take pictures of them - so we do. And it appears that the polite thing to do is then to show them their picture on the camera screen. Thank goodness for digital technology!

Already during my last visit to India two years ago I was wondering why almost everybody there was so keen to have their pictures taken. I came up with a theory: when a picture of them is taken, their image goes onto a journey. They themselves may not have the opportunity to see the rest of the world in the near foreseeable future, but their picture will. Their own eyes will not see the world, but the world will see them on their image - so in a way they do travel and get connected to the rest of humanity, to whoever sees their image. So I keep taking pictures of them, to fulfil their dream of being seen by the world (or whoever has a look at the pictures).

In the evening when we return to the HM Patel Institute, there is a group of young students from Surat, supervised by Ashok. They are also very keen to have their pictures taken.

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