a brass odyssey
on-air / on-line: 23rd December 2001
audio piece is dedicated to the Festival of Folk Brass Bands in Gucha (pronounced
as goocha), a small town in central Serbia.
If it wasn't for the festival, very few people would ever hear of this town. There's really not much to see there: a couple of unimportant factories, a couple of residential buildings, a lot of common private homes... Still, every last weekend (including Friday) of August turns Gucha into a gathering place for dozens of brass bands from all around Serbia.
Formally, the festival is organised in form of a contest for best band/trumpet player/drummer, etc., yet this is not the most memorable part of it. The contest itself lasts for a couple of hours, and it is quite straightforward: bands playing basic tunes of Serbian musical heritage and being ranked by a jury. What really makes one come to Gucha once and remember it ever since is the incredible _sound_pressure_level_ which is present at every single spot. The bands play all over the town for whole three days and nights, and one's ears are soon over-saturated with constant beating of bass drums and blowing of trumpets, baritone horns, tubas... No saxophones.
I visited Gucha for the first time in 1994, every consecutive year I tried to record my audio impressions during these 72 hours of sound turmoil. I never succeeded, though. However a mike was good, no speakers could reproduce the amount of _pleasant_noise_ I tried to capture.
When Aleksandar V. invited me to participate in SOUNDCARD project, he mentioned the Eiffel Tower in Paris as a clue for thinking about my piece. We concluded that _real_ impression of hugeness of the tower surely cannot be put into a form of a postcard. In order to experience it, one has to be on-site. Nevertheless, we send postcards to our friends - not in order to pass them our experiences, merely to inform them we are still _somewhere_... and tell them where to go if their feet (or ears) get itchy...
This year, I went to Gucha trying not to look upon the overall audioscape (which is obvious) but to other audio aspects that are ever-present and yet ignored by most on-site listeners.
If I tried to stay in the SOUNDCARD paradigm I'd write:
I'm not sending you the whole picture (it would be too big), but the details are here. You can come and see them live (along with the whole) if you find some time in the future.
I'm quite positive that jazz was invented the same way.
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