THE COLLECTION OF CULTURE!
The Jazz Legend Who Made a Religion of Connecting Cultures It is hard to breathe in the coffeesmelling, warm air backstage at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Any oxygen that hasn’t already been transformed to carbon dioxide goes to the employees running around 6 hours before the concert is supposed to start. It is not difficult to figure out wether the persons around me are musicians or backstage workers. The musicians are calmly drinking their caffeine and making small talk, still in their jeans and T-shirts, while the backstage workers are screaming and running around wearing suits. I can’t possibly understand why the employees, that aren’t on stage, need prudish clothes since the only people they will see are each other. It is one hour from rehearsal and I start looking for Herbie Hancock, whom I’m here to interview. I don’t need to search long for Hancock’s dressing room before I see the jazz legend sitting in a brown sofa under an open window, enjoying the fresh, october air. I ask him what jazz means to him. ”Jazz to me is the spirit of freedom.” is his answer. He talks about how he likes the idea of trying to do the impossible and how jazz helps him to do that. Herbie Hancock is wellknown for his way of fusing musical styles and uniting cultures in his songs. The first song with an obvious blend is the remix of Watermelon man. Herbie Hancock takes his phone, starts the song and explains the different elements that take part. In the beginning there is a mixture of flutes. ”The sounds you hear come from ocarinas and panpipes.” he tells me and he also explains that they are most common in South America, Africa and China. I ask him what the difference is between a transverse flute, which is more common in USA, and the flutes he
used. He describes the transverse flutes as beautiful but clinical and not as personal as the ocarinas or the panpipes. In the middle part of the song he uses more common band instruments like drums, guitars etc. but he makes it clear that there were tambourines in the mix as well which originally come from India. When the last flute tones have rung out Hancock puts down his phone and walks over to his black gym bag and pick up something that looks like a CD. The title of the CD is The Imagine Project and I immediately recognise it. He tells me that if I am looking for different cultures we should be talking about that disc and that was my intention. The songs on the CD are recorded with different artists from all over the world. ”I’m a very curios person.” he says and describes himself as fearless of breaking musical barriers. He is very proud of what he has accomplished and talks warmly about the song collection he has in his hands. There are 10 songs recorded on The Imagine Project and since they are all recorded with different artists and instruments, each song has its own special multicultural sound. I ask him if he can make an example and he talks mainly about two songs; The Times, they are changin’ and The song goes on. He describes the first song as more European then the other. The background is what someone would call an almost normal jazz background but with some interesting adds. It’s normal for a jazz song to have piano in it but however in slow pace with blue notes in the chords, not quickly plaid notes that doesn’t match neither the background nor the singer. There are also guitar bars with quick and high notes, that normally is played in Greece, mixed with the piano notes. Tin whistle and uilleann pipes are the other instruments that are used in the song. The tin whistle is originally from Britain but is now more connected to Scotland and Irish folk music. Also the uillean pipes are Irish, the
uillean pipes are the national bagpipe of Ireland. To summarize; the first song has different European styles, the jazz background with odd piano bars, Greek guitars and Scottish/Irish tin whistles and bagpipes. The song goes on, the second song, on the other hand has nothing to do with Europe. The piano bars in this song is played the ”normal jazz-way” unlike in the first song. The normal stops with the jazz chords. mridangam and tablas, African drums that is played with a high pace, in the background makes the jazz sound almost disappear. The song is neither soft nor calm as a jazz song normally is. There are a lot of songs in the jazz genre that have high pace accompaniment in the background but normally it’s just the cymbals that sound fast while the drums have a slow tempo. Similar to the other song, this also has guitar in it, at least an instrument close to a guitar. ”It’s called a sitar and is used in India.” Hancock says and also explains that even if the sitar is played with high notes as well as the guitar in the previous song, the sitar is played with bent notes. In Greece the notes are played straight. Even though I would love to continue the conversation with Hancock, I noticed how he started looking at his watch as the conversation started coming to its end and I realize that he might want to prepare himself for the repetition. I thank him for his time by shaking his hand and I notice how my neck has become stiff from in the air draft from the window. I actually enjoy the warm coffee smelling air as I walk out from Herbie Hancock’s dressing room in the belief that it will help my neck to go back to the normal state again. I sit down in a seat in the concert hall and listen to a beautiful rehearsal with one of the greatest jazz players of his time.
THE COLLECTION OF CULTURE!
Maecenas pulvinar sagittis enim.
Dreams on different levels Inception is a movie written by Christopher Nolan and is a really exciting and intriguing film. Dom Cobb, played by the famous Leonardo DiCaprio, is a well-known thief who is an expert at stealing ideas and secrets in his target’s dreams. He is therefore a very coveted man, but with that knowledge he has also got into a lot of trouble and he has lost his family, the people he loved the most. As a last chance to get his old life back Cobb gets hired to do a final mission which means he is going to achieve the impossible, to plant an idea in his target’s subconscious instead of stealing one. Cobb and his team are planning how to achieve their goal, but things get rather complicated when they finally put their plan into actions. Opponents they weren’t expecting show up and Cobb and his team are trying to make the best of the situation. Usually when people get hurt in the dreams they wake up, but not this time. Now they are sleeping so deeply that they won’t wake up if they die. So the question is whether they are going to make it through or not. We are thrown into a whole new world, where dreams can become reality and the line between reality and dreams can be very diffuse. We are going to meet a bunch of characters, each one with a special attribute and different traits. Inception is somewhat of a typical Hollywood movie, which means it has distinguishing features such as it’s
predictable end and it’s unlikely story with shallow characters, who stands either on the good or the bad side. Hollywood movies are also recognized for their good quality which you can notice in Inception too. If you compare it to Bollywood movies it is a remarkable difference because Bollywood films have more music and dancing in it and can more fairly be compared to a musical rather than a average movie from Hollywood. Another thing that separates a hollywood movie from a Bollywood movie is that the movies from Bollywood are much longer, they are usually three to four hours long and moreover the movies are mostly watched in India. Nolan managed to take his viewer to a place you never could imagined, filled with surprises and adventures. The movie is very intense and therefore Nolan demands a full concentration of his audience. He succeeded in every way of getting his spectators involved and interested, and if not, it’s because of the individuals’ lack of concern. As a conclusion I would say that this movie leaves you both dazed and amazed, but although not in a negative way. I believe if you manage to get through this film you will have a hard time not only forgetting, but you will also query what you just watched and you will possibly find yourself thinking, that maybe, just maybe, you are still dreaming... or are you?
Nolan managed to take his viewer to a place you never could imagined, filled with surprises and adventures.
THE COLLECTION OF CULTURE!
Harper Lee, the woman who went from nobody to somebody! On the way to the café, in the middle of the morning rush. People were walking in their fancy costumes, with their own bag of coffee, nowadays coffee is a must for an office-working citizen. The sun was climbing slowly behind the mountains, a quilt of calm and softness was soon covering the city. When I opened the door to the café I felt a strong scent of coffee, There was still a lot of people trying to get a cup of coffee before going to their work. Because it was on a regular work day it was easy to find somewhere to sit and wait for Harper. Harper lee, the woman I'm supposed to interview is a very interesting woman, because she was a drop -out , who became one of Americas most influential persons. She went from a nobody to someone who could be compared with persons like Mother Teresa and Bob Dylan, because she received a prize for her book, ”How to kill a mockingbird”, her only book. That prize is not a prize you get for only doing something good, like a good book, But it has to make a difference, change something to the better. Open peoples’ eyes. The book has become famous for its warmth and humour, despite dealing with serious issues like rape and inequality between ethnic groups. It’s also based on a true story , because it’s based on the author’s own life, not completely but things like these could probably have happened in the real life. The door to the café was opened rapidly by a very stressed old lady. It looked like she had almost got out of bed, and even though I was a good distance away, I could smell the stench of her perfume, she started to look at me with a questioning look. Because of the tension, I started with asking the most simple questions. How could you come up with such a crazy idea as writing a book? - Well, as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed writing and being creative, and i had to do something, something I was good at , something that I really wanted to do, which made the choice easy, Harper claims.
Icons like Bob Dylan,Mother Teresa, people with a big influence, could you compare yourself to them? - To be honest, I would not consider myself anywhere near them, they made heroic efforts to change people’s lives to the better, I just made a book. Though many people think it’s a really eye-opening book. I would not say it changed people’s lives, more than it was just a very good book, Harper states. Writing books on your own personal experiences tend to be hard, because you are bringing up things that you would normally not, how did you felt about writing about things like this? - This was the easiest question you asked today, Harper says with a smile. Choosing the books theme was the easiest part of making the book, because I wanted to write about something real, something that depict how our society really works, something that could make people think. O§f course it was hard to bring up these things again, but its better being honest to yourself , than living in a denial, Harper says. How do you compare yourself to other authors throughout the world? - I don’t really consider myself as an author, because I think you have to do a couple more books before you can call yourself elf an author. But my book is bringing up the question: why is there inequality between different ethnic groups? Which i think a lot of people don’t think of very often, and is not often transmitted in books, because we forget about how important it is with equality. Like in Rudyards Kiplins book the jungle book, there is a short story named ”The white man’s burden” there he promotes the white man as the ultimate man, which in my eyes is not equality because in my book my message is, equality is a thing we should seek for, because then we could pursue justice in a fair way. In Rudyards book ,the message is completely opposite to mine, that the white man is the ultimate human, that exactly what inequality is all about. Promoting one ethnic group over
others. Harper said with a frustration in her voice. I can also compare my book to another book, its my favourite book, Sherlock Holmes. Made by Conan Doyle. It is a typical english book, Its about a man,he is a sort of a superman. He solves crimes better than an entire criminal department. The genre of that book is about a superhero, a fiction. My book portrays real life situations and real people like you and me. His book is a fiction while mine is based on a true story. Harper says. One last question before we are done. I have always been interested in, how all this attention have affected your life. Can you say that the fame changed you as a person? - I think after I received the presidential medal of honour, I felt for the first time of my life, insecure. The attention and the fame, I think had a negative influence on me, because I was afraid of what I said in to the press, But everything is not bad with it. I also felt a feeling, that I made someone touched by my work, It’s a feeling I can’t really explain, because its such a rare feeling, so I wont regret making this book. Harper said with a small sense of pride in her voice. She also mentioned that it was her first thing she had fulfilled in her life, and also that it made her really proud over herself. I thanked her for the interview, and she smiled back telling me that it was a pleasure talking to someone, her life had became so boring nowadays, no one to speak with except the staff at the nursing home. Then I had to go so I went out of the café with a smile, thinking ” I have met one of the coolest persons alive” I walked down the street with my own bag of coffee in the warm october sun reflecting over what happened today.