Saturday, February 03, 2007

Music is the message- part 1

I experienced two extremes of music yesterday, Rap and Gospel. To read this with a backing track, shift/click here.

The Rap writing was with a class of year 6 children and two great guys called Philip and Marcus (otherwise known as PhillieBusta and MaXximu$, as I found out later). The kids were at the stage of honing their lyrics & recording their Raps. In between sessions, I briefly engaged with them about what it was all about, what it achieved and how they engaged with the participants with "issues". Philip was recording them in small Groups, he had already laid down the backing music and done rough cuts for them to take home and practice with (some had, a lot hadn't.) He mentioned that at ages 10-11 the lyrics were not particularly insightful in most cases but getting them to think of something to say was not the biggest challenge. Meanwhile, upstairs in the Library, Marcus was preparing them to speak to the rhythm of the beat, helping them refine their phrasing so that it flowed and they didn't garble their words. Meanwhile, the rest of the class was being supervised by a world-weary supply teacher, Mr. Chalk.

Eventually, the 90 minutes was up and the group got together for a debrief. After not much cajoling, both Philip and Marcus gave a brief performance. Marcus then turned to The Greyster to see if I had one, but fortunately, we had ran out of time!

I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity but came away surprised that what little I thought I knew about Rapping was essentially all there is to it- in your face urban poetry to a funky beat, onamatapaeic, rhythm & phrasing, some great, some less so. The guys were brilliant with the children and even Mr. Chalk said what a great change this made for him.

What about all the hand movements? visual emphasis, looking cool, ritualistic. I also noticed that the pair of them spoke refined Yorkshire in conversation and something urban gangsta when performing. It sounded better though!

No comments: