Friday, March 13, 2009

The Happiness Project!

I am so inspired, energized and well...really HAPPY right now! Just came back from experiencing Charles Spearin's The Happiness Project at the Music Gallery with my friend Mark. It was mind blowing and I need time to process it. But let me just say that this is exactly the type of thing we need more of in the world. The positive energy in the room was incredible. Mrs. Morris is my favourite! I could listen to her all day long. Her voice makes my heart sing. I really hope The Happiness Project comes back to Toronto so everyone I know can go see it. It was, hands down, one of the best shows I have experienced in my life. If it comes to your not miss out!

Below is Charles Spearin's explanation of the project:
These are my neighbours. My wife and I have two little kids and live in a multi-cultural neighbourhood in downtown Toronto. In the hot summer months all the kids in the neighbourhood play outside together and everyone is out on their porch enjoying each other’s company, telling stories and sharing thoughts. A year or so ago I began inviting some of them over to the house for a casual interview vaguely centered around the subject of happiness. In some cases we never broached the subject directly but none-the-less my friends began to call it my “Happiness Project”.

After each interview I would listen back to the recording for moments that were interesting in both meaning and melody. By meaning I mean the thoughts expressed, by melody I mean the cadence and inflection that give the voice a sing-song quality. It has always been interesting to me how we use sounds to convey concepts. Normally, we don’t pay any attention to the movement of our lips and tounge, and the rising and falling of our voices as we toss our thoughts back and forth to each other. We just talk and listen. The only time we pay attention to these qualities is in song. (Just as when we read we don’t pay attention to the curl and swing of the letters as though they were little drawings.)

Meaning seems to be our hunger but we should still try to taste our food. I wanted to see if I could blur the line between speaking and singing - life and art? - and write music based on these accidental melodies. So I had some musician friends play, as close as they could, these neighbourhood melodies on different instruments (Mrs. Morris on the tenor saxophone, Marisa on the harp, my daughter Ondine on the violin, etc.) and then I arranged them as though they were songs.

All of the melodies on this album are the melodies of every day life.

- Charles Spearin, founding member of Broken Social Scene and Do Make Say Think

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