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Whoa. I barely know where to start. Fourteen hours days combined with an unhealthy amount of coffee, cigarettes and sugar have left me a bit of a shivering wreck, and it’s only the beginning of the second (official) day. I’ve been for 3 days already, preparing everything and to be honest while I am a bit of a shivering wreck, I’m also incredibly hyper and I feel truly blessed to have witnessed what I have so far. More than that I feel blessed, as one of the organisers and the person with whom the idea for Original Cultures sort of originated, to know that our ideas, our discussions and our wishes are somehow turning to be true, and even better turning out way better than we’d expected.

I’ll keep this first blog post short as I’ve still got tons to do, but to balance the input from our team of writers and some of our artists (blogs from whom you can find here in Italian for the writers and here in Japanese for the artists) here’s an overview of the first official day, and some bits from the first few days.

The mood has been high since all the artists arrived on monday evening and tuesday morning. I think it’s fair to say that the (so far) beautiful weather, the incredible food (cooked by our resident badman chef/caterer Lisa) and the historical surroundings have a lot to do with helping to elevate the mood of all involved.

The music workshops, where Tayone (from Italy), 2tall/Om Unit (from England) and Tatsuki (from Japan) are working for 3 days creating music that will be used in the final showcase on Saturday June 6th, are taking place in the Teatro San Leonardo, a building that was first a nuns’ covent, some 400 years ago. And as we sat for dinner on the Tuesday evening in the courtyard of the Teatro it somehow felt very appropriate that we would be adding our bit of history to this beautiful place.

I’ve primarily been involved in overseeing the music workshops, as I know all 3 artists personally. They are first and foremost friends, and I am a fan of theirs as much as a friend, and so to see them come together and in the space of 8 or so hours put together an already lenghty amount of music and tracks has been incredible to say the least.

Our original thoughts, as organisers, was that on Saturday the showcase, which will last 2 hours, would be composed of roughly 4 movements, 3 x 30mins of solo (one for each artist) and one collective movement of 30mins. This went out the window by the end of the first day of workshops, with Tayone explaining that he felt much happier doing as much collectively as possible. Jim 2tall and Tatsuki both agreed, and so we decided to move forward with the first hour featuring 2tall and Tatsuki doing solos (being that they are the ‘real’ guests as Tayone lived in Bologna for years) and the second hour (or more) composed of a collective movement which the guys are creating as we speak. And truth be told, this is exactly I’d hoped for originally – the reality was that I know that asking artists to put together a 2h live show is demanding a lot, and rests on a lot of factors, especially people getting on and ‘gelling’ if you will. In the end, my hopes are turning reality it seems, as the guys are more than happy to do as much together as possible, and considering we’re about 1/3 of the way through the music workshops I’d say it’s even fair to think that we’ll have a lot more than one hour of music on our hands by the end.

And so day 2 starts. Today are more music workshops, as well as a seminar/meeting/q&a session between the musicians and music students in the late afternoon. While I sit here at home, coffee-ing it up and overseeing the content output of our event, the musicians have already started and I can’t wait to see what rested minds come up with today. Tiredness set in yesterday towards the end, and as Tayone put it “the more we do, the more we have, but also the more we come up with bits that aren’t as good”. Very true, but as 2tall countered “at the end the more we have, the more we can choose from to make sure it’s outstanding”. And that kinda sums it up for me.

I’ll leave you with a few choice quotes, as well as the amazing news that Bruno Briscik, a famed Italian multi instrumentalist with whom Tayone has collaborated on many occasions, will be joining the 3 artists for a couple of featurings on the evening of Saturday.

Oh and as for the visual art workshops, featuring the amazing talents of Ericailcane, DEM and Will Barras, well I’ve not had the time to see much yet, but you can read about it in our writers blog (Italian only for now) and know that what I have seen and spoken about with them leads me to believe that saturday will be special indeed. The 3 of them, from Italy and the UK, will essentially act as directors/choreographers for the showcase, orchestrating a full live, visual show for the music being made. And so far this show includes Chinese shadows, a black box and some very spooky figurines… Considering we’d originally hoped to have them paint walls during the day, something Ericailcane and DEM are known for, to know that they’ll now be doing something pretty much no one has ever seen them do makes me only feel even better. More pics and words soon come. Stay tuned.

From Bologna, with love (and a hell of a lot of coffee).

Laurent

PS: for those interested, so far the music is ranging from slow beats to house to jazzy hip hop and abstract instrumentals. Will post audio soon as I can.

Quotes:

You try and do an event in Italy and not make it about food!

Me, in response to Mark from Skratchworx’s tweet that Original Cultures was basically just about food.

It’s a pleasure to leave the studio, go to a new country and work with new people. The inspiration is unbelievable!

Tatsuki, at the end of the first day of workshops. With some pistaccio cookies on the side.

It just keeps getting better and better!

Jim 2tall, not sure when he said that though!

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