Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Sketching Music


Me, Brian & Jack painted by ...

     Patti Mc Kenna

I met Patti on my Ukulele & Song writing course at The National Botanic Garden of Wales funded by WCVA via Community Music Wales & accredited via AGored Cymru. She came as a student. I knew from the moment I picked her up at the train station that we would get on. Her huge warm smile and colourful funky attire, her soothing voice still lyrical from the tinges of Liverpool.

What I didn’t bargain for was Patti’s breadth of artistic skills. She wrote a beautiful song in Spanish about how a butterfly is like a refugee, as part of the course. When she performed it on Sharing day, it was heard by Kate Davies, who runs  AMAZING harmony singing  groups across West Wales. Kate loved Patti’s song so much that she met up with her afterwards to record it and work out harmonies to take to her groups.

During the course, Patti was sketching. I didn’t think too much about it until 2 weeks after the course she posted the completed sketches of all the students on face book

Patricia painted by Patti

I love the way her work captures the movement and expression of the day, and the suggestion of detail.

David painted by Patti

So, song writer, singer and artist ... but not just these! During the sharing she brought with her the most magnificent Djembe (African hand drum) and played with everyone even though she didn’t know the songs, she read the musicians, so intuitive.

It transpires that Patti runs 2 percussion groups with people who do and do not have learning disability.

When I found this out I was in the middle of working with Miranda Betts and giving her a brief for LegaC Contemporary Dance Troop, who, I have said before, are said to be those at the very ‘top’ of community arts, who cannot progress further in these classes, who have passed auditions in 2 counties to be part of a group thought to be ‘the best’. I loved the idea of integrating this group with musicians who because of their label are stereotyped the complete opposite of this group, and fusing this integrated group together though their art forms. Bringing them together at Arthur’s Stone.

So I called Patti up and we arranged to meet at a Community Garden in Swansea where Patti regularly volunteers. It was great to see such a fabulous spirit of togetherness and a corner of the city restored and reserved for the people to grow.

 Behind Counter: Patti. Front of Counter: My sister, Gem

We have agreed that Patti will bring her integrated group to the film shoot. They will be working on the percussion for the music and the dancers will be informed by the sign language of the bass section lyrics in the song Women Build fires. I like that this fusion incorporates the signing in its layers, but also that the lyrics come from the Fire song ... so they are following Miranda.

It sounds like it’s getting complicated, but don’t fret, I know what I’m doing, honest!

I also asked Patti if she would be up for sketching at the Dance of the Ribbons film shoot up at the Wind Farm and she’s thinking about it. I think she would really be able to capture the movement of the children, the ribbons and the turbines in her ink and watercolour brush strokes.

Then I will have a choice to filmscape the sketches or the movement, or both .. see what looks the most beautiful me thinks.

Jacqueline  painted by Patti

I would love then for Patti to come and paint/sketch the Dance of the Ribbons, we will have to see how she responds ...

NB: Had a fb message from Patti saying she would like to come and sketch for Dance of the RIbbons! Hoorah! Will email her the dates this week.

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