In the past, when I played for events, I found it liberating to just have the time to experiment without worrying about people hearing me. But I’ve had a few experiences as a performer where the concert was organized very badly – for example, five bands playing all at the same time in a huge arena and I was one of the bands, and I couldn’t even hear myself; or a loonnnnng birthday event and they arranged for me to perform right after the cake was served (as everyone was racing to get out of the room, and saying their goodbyes). Or when I’m doing a ‘street-harp’ project, and I’m outside, or at a subway and people are uncomfortable and just want to sneak by.
The first time this happened I was traumatized – but since then, as soon as I get over the discomfort, which I try to do very fast, I realize it is completely liberating and I decided to just ‘go with it’ and just sing and play my heart out even though it was noisy and complete chaos. And it just happened that a photographer snapped me in that moment – and the photo he took became one of my very favorites – I used it a lot for my posters (until I cut off my hair).
When I’m playing street-harp, I try to play the environment, and try to see what I can make up in the moment that will change the experience for me. Once when I was doing that, a pidgeon flew up behind me and its beating wings sounded like ecstatic clapping.
So these are the 3 things I do:
– Use it as a time for paid exploration
– Throw my whole self into it even if nobody is listening – and enjoy the freedom even in the midst of being ignored
– Play for MYSELF, looking for grooves and vamps that I like and that change my feeling about the environment
I just use the situation to create some sort of freedom for myself.