After careful planning and successful fundraising, the Accidental Music Festival kick-off concert took place, dutifully doing justice to the ‘avant-garde’ spirit of the endeavor, on Sunday 4 September. A full house received Los Angeles performer Emily Hay, a bold improviser with no limits for musical expression, who stunned and captivated spectators with her wild mannerisms and unorthodox style.
The evening was started by trumpet player Benoit Glazer, who more or less set the tone for what was about to come. The Glazer family provided the theater section of their gorgeous Timucua White House for the evening’s performances.
After some interesting experimentation with the trumpet’s sonority, Glazer welcomed Hay and her band, percussionist Brad Dutz and keyboardist Wayne Peet, to the stage. Hay has a knack for eliciting the strangest sounds from her flutes. She is a very percussive player and singer, using her voice and her instruments in ways that challenge the nature of their sound. The approach to her wordless singing is rather harsh, most of the time half-spoken, half-sung, yet full of emotion. The percussive idiom she employs for her singing and flute-playing tends to distort their aural spectrum, resulting in a very expressionistic rendition. At one point she was uttering some broken speech about peanuts, at another she was half-laughing and hissing, and at another she intoned a sort of chant-like muttering that sounded like she was conjuring up the dead.
Aside from the originality and utterly fearless style of Hay’s music, what made the performance interesting to experience was the group interaction. No matter how unorthodox the sounds and how free the improvisation, there was musical communication going on between all three members. With a wide array of percussion paraphernalia, Dutz enhanced the sonic onslaught coming from Hay at the right times. Likewise, Peet, on the piano, synthesizer and theremin, set the perfect moods and musical ambiences needed for the effectiveness of Hay’s expressionism. Low rumbles on the piano, robotic drones from the keyboard and the stylish ululation of the theremin were the backdrop for the electronically processed vocals and rampant fluttering of the alto flute. All these elements made the sonic experience truly staggering.
The festival started the way it had to, with boldness and music performances that most of the Orlando music enthusiasts in attendance had not yet experienced. That is the purpose of the festival and it was evident at the Timucua house on Sunday evening. Emily Hay’s free improvisations may not have been the most palatable music to most audience members, but what they saw and heard surely will not be forgotten any time soon.
To read more about the Accidental Music Festival, click here.
To visit flautist, pianist, vocalist and composer Emily Hay’s Web site, click here.
To visit the Web site for the Timucua Arts Foundation, click here.
To visit the official Kickstarter Web site for the Accidental Music Festival, featuring an introductory video and a calendar of events, featuring concerts, discussions and workshops, click here.
To visit the Web site for Urban Rethink, hosting more Accidental Music Festival events, click here.