Anastasia Tsioulcas writes at NPR Music for “Deceptive Cadence” (http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence). Widely published as a writer on both classical and world music, she is the former North America editor for Gramophone Magazine and the classical music columnist for Billboard. She has also been an on-air contributor to many public radio programs, including WNYC’s Soundcheck, Minnesota Public Radio’s The Savvy Traveler, Public Radio International’s Weekend America, and the BBC’s The World.
We put out a call and they came — by the hundreds. When we invited wind, brass and percussion players to join us yesterday in Brooklyn to perform a world premiere by Red Baraat's Sunny Jain for the annual Make Music New York festival, we were hoping that lots of different kinds of musicians would join us. And boy, did they ever.
On this absolutely gorgeous Saturday afternoon, about 350 musicians assembled on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library to play Jain's 100+ BPM. Young, older, professional drumlines, community marching bands, seasoned jazz players, Indian wedding band musicians, Brazilian samba drummers and scads of amateur players came out to play. It was just incredible.
If you want to see more of the action, check out lots of photos on our Flickr page and across Instagram, Flickr, Twitter and Tumblr using the hashtag #npr100BPM. (And if you have more images or video to share, please use that hashtag! We're loving what we're seeing.)
We'll also be posting a full Field Recording video of the premiere in the coming days. Here's a sneak peek:
In the meantime, I keep coming back to what one of the musicians said to me after the performance. I was chatting with saxophonist and composer Ken Thomson, a member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars who joined in the performance (and who, coincidentally, has been a friend of mine for nearly two decades). He remarked, "You know that moment when you finally realize that your jaw hurts because you've been genuinely smiling non-stop for hours? I have that right now." I did, too — and given all the positive energy, fantastic playing and beaming faces I witnessed yesterday afternoon, I'm pretty sure we weren't the only ones.