As I get older, I’ve noticed that I have become more aware of sound. Maybe it has something to do with being a musician? I’m not sure, but what I can tell you is that when you start opening your ears to the sounds that surround you, you begin to notice things you never did before.
My mom, her two co-workers and I explored some more of 16th Street today in Denver and found four more painted pianos. Honestly, how cool is this project?
Sadly, most of them were really bad sounding but there was one piano, bright pink, that was in family good condition. When we came across it, a man was serenading a woman at her request and wow, was he good.
Continuing down the street we came across a share a travel story campaign, and people were quietly writing and hanging their tales to twine hung between trees. The pages rustled in the wind, encouraging passersby to stop, read, and dwell on the stories they told.
At one point contagious laughter filled the air as people sat in red chairs with bottoms shaped like tops (yes, I realize that is confusing) and going for a spin while trying not to fall off.
People mingling, buses chiming, music playing – all these filled the senses as one walked through downtown Denver.
The sounds didn’t stop there. My second cousin, who was the main reason I chose to visit Colorado, picked me up in the afternoon to take me to his home in Broomfield.
His nearly four-year-old son warmed up to me very quickly and within a span of a few hours we had already been on so many adventures with our imaginations, one would think we had gone around the world and back. Hearing a child tell you a story, having them tell you about the world from their point of view, is so heart-warming and eye-opening.
The evening was filled with the melodies and rhythm of samba. My cousin is a Brazilian percussionist and teacher who specializes in samba. I had the privilege of attending one of his workshops and learning the basics of how to play pandeiro, tambourín, and other Brazilian percussion followed by a two hour battería (Brazilian marching band) rehearsal. Talk about a lot of sound!
I know a lot of people who are not fans of percussion only ensembles, but I love them. I love how the sounds fill the room and the rhythms are so strong you feel them vibrate between your ribs.
When you think about it, everything in life is about rhythm. Percussion ensembles are simply stripping away to the bare bones of the sounds of life.
Finding your rhythm in the ensemble of life is what we are all called to do. Sometimes the patterns are more difficult, but if we keep at it and remain sensitive to the sounds around us, we will all eventually find our place in the band and together, we can produce some marvelous works.
Here’s to you, reader. May you find your part in the ensemble if life.
PS – If you are interested in hearing some of my cousin’s music, check out their website: http://gingaband.com.
PPS – If you are interested in becoming a part of the Boulder Battería, please contact the community center they rehearse in: https://intercambio.org.