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Sage Gateshead Shares Expertise and Experience in Exchange Programme

Posted on 21 May 2014

Choro Seminar – 18th May 2014 at Gateshead Old Town Hall

Nemi’s viewpoint

On the 18th of May Sage Gateshead held a Choro workshop at old town hall. Choro is a form of music which incorporates elements of Brazilian folk genre using instrumentals. Its name suggests that the style is gloomy as Choro means to lament or to cry. However, The music does not fit in with its name as it tends to be rather upbeat with a fast tempo.

The workshop was rather lengthy but the time passing was unnoticeable as I was very much entertained. It was fascinating to observe how every instrument plays an important role in a band, and how sound can change drastically if one instrument is out of tempo or tune. The workshop proved that music is indeed a universal language, due to the fact that language and cultural barriers among the participants did not cause any interference in the day’s progression.

Later in the afternoon, we all headed back to Sage Gateshead where the musicians held a live performance for the audience gathered at the restaurant on the first floor. They performed the various pieces which they had practiced at Old town hall, and here I must commend them.

The younger participants who were collaborating with the visiting Brazilian musicians, absorbed their parts in each piece to the extent that they played almost flawlessly. I have trained in music for most of my life, and I could very distinctly pick out the variations and how each instrument complemented the other. Music is a calming and uplifting medicine. Choro inspired me so much that I was able to continue writing my novel once I returned home, as the dreadful writers block was magically lifted.

Roula’s perspective

The day begun in a very funny way; when you wake up late and everything goes wrong after? – well that! Anyway, I managed somehow to get from Slatyford, Newcastle to Gateshead Old Town Hall, and it totally worth it! The Choro Workshop that was taking place in GOTH was stunning! It’s been ages since the last time that I took part in a music workshop and the Choro totally filled the gap.

The practice lasted 5 hours (!), within which young musicians (students aged 15 yrs old approximately) collaborated just fine with our Brazilian friends. Everyone was relaxed speaking the same language: the language of music. I am not sure if those students have worked before with foreign musicians, but either way you couldn’t tell; the outcome was perfetto, synchronized and on the right tune. I must admit that I loved the style of music that I heard in this room – I loved the tempo; a part of a whole different culture.

At around 3.30 pm we all packed up and moved back to the base at Sage, where young and old-er musicians performed at the Concourse, right in the “heart” of Sage Gateshead. The whole performance consisted of 4 pieces, one of which was very touching as it was written as an homage to one Brazilian friend who has passed away.

At around 5.00 we called it a day, a very full day. It was the most musical Sunday I’ve ever experienced and the most full-filling one. I left Sage happy, and full of energy – because music does that one me! Having worked in many different jobs as a student, and currently working in a restaurant, I can tell the difference (physically and mentally) when doing something you adore and doing something because you just have to pay the bills. It feels like I am taking energy from this voluntary experience to use it to my current job and make it through the day. Strange, but totally true!

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