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saxophone improvisations for island life:
A PICARESQUE GUIDE FOR beginners

an interdisciplinary project in multiple parts by David Colosi

David Colosi - Animal Serenades, 2010 David Colosi - Animal Serenades, 2010

Oct. 8 - Nov. 8 , 2010
This Project took place in residence at Le centre du monde, Belle Ile, France
The trip was also made possible in part by a generous award from Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation
Special thanks to Erwan Maheo and Catherine Bastide

ANIMAL SERENADES: FARM ANIMALS

 

When I was invited to be an artist-in-residence at Le Centre Du Monde, I was in the middle of my Saxophone Improvisations project, so naturally I brought my tenor saxophone. As I biked around the island of Belle Ile, I found it was heavily populated with farm animals. In the summer season, Belle Ile is a popular tourist destination, and in the off season the island is sustained by local fishing and farming. Moving from my work with geese, I decided to expand my compositions with animals. The island is covered with rotating pastures of cows, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, and donkeys. In the wild, I found hares, pheasants, lizards, jellyfish, mussels, oysters, and a variety of sea creatures. I photographed these to include as "still" compositions, but rather than building more tools to play the animal positions "live" with, this time I decided to serenade them. I hoped I could enrich their lives and at the same time participate in the farming industry by tenderizing the future meat, cheese, milk, and butter with music. This way, too, to could get comfortable in front of an audience. Animal behavior provided me with a variety of metaphors that I could use to describe my future human audiences.

 

HORSES - LES CHEVAUX

Horses were curious, attentive, good listeners, and good critics. From subtle movements of their ears I could tell if I was in tune or not. Sharp sounds would startle them and more melodic patterns drew them closer. They seemed more attracted to the higher register. I called the pony in the video Chevy, and he approached me every time I came around.

 

COWS - LES VACHES

Cows were curious, attentive, but a dumbfounded. They emptied their bladders as I began. They were confused, but transfixed, and couldn't resume their normal activities. One cow got so close that she drooled in my bell. They continued eating once I stopped.

 

GOATS - LES CHEVRES

Baby goats were curious, attentive, and responsive. They were vocal before I played and silent, playful, and restful when I played. When I stopped, they cried for more.

 

SHEEP - LES MOUTONS

Sheep were the least curious, attentive, and interested. As far as audiences go, they were dull. Nothing could interrupt their grazing. At first I thought they had bad hearing. So I played louder. Then I thought I was playing the wrong tones or tunes. So I changed my tunes. But they were just not interested. I tried different pastures on different days at different times. If it weren't for the occasional rooster in the background, these days would have been lost. (If only I could have found a pen of roosters).

 

MUSSELS - LES MOULES

Mussels made a better audience than sheep. I had no expectations from them. I could open up and play whatever and however I liked. And volume was also not an issue, as it was with animals with ears. After I finished playing, I picked a bag-full and made a delicious lunch.

 
 

 

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