It is 8.15 in the morning and once again we leave all the electronic devices outside and we pass the check. As soon as we get into the chapel we start discussing the daily plan. We already had enough ideas/songs and we had to record them and find out how we are going to perform them live.
I have to admit that my concentration was always destructed from the outside of the chapel. I couldn't help myself not to look at all those people inside the prison walking round and round the field. It took me a lot of time to understand why they are doing it. It is very easy for us to go out and have some walk, but what about them?
The plan was again to split the team in groups and work on the already existed ideas. At that time me and Maria had to work with Nathan. I haven't say anything about Nathan yet. We met him on the first day after the lunch break. He came inside with a huge energy and started introducing himself. He was always with a guitar in his hands and he was playing non stop. He did some vocal recordings the previous day and Robin thought that he would be the perfect voice for the harmonics. So our job was to write lyrics, a melodic line and give some structure to the piece.
We took the keyboard and we went in a small room. Ben didn't miss the opportunity to come with us and of course we suggested him to sing as well. I told Nathan that we need lyrics and a melodic line, so i am gonna play the chords over and over again to see what comes to your mind. He was very much inspired by the title harmonics. More specifically he said: '' Harmonics! Then it has to be about harmony...''. I started playing the chords and automatically a line came to my mind. I didn't say anything about that but i was playing the first note louder (which was the fifth of the chord) just to see if he will catch it. After one minutes he said ''it's coming'' and after one more minute he came up with a melody and lyrics. He started singing while i was playing and his melody was a lot more natural than the one i had on my mind....
He continued writting lyrics in the same way and me and Maria were only suggesting to go higher or lower and how the structure could be. Also Maria added a second vocal line. After 10 minutes the song was ready. We had two different verses with different melodies and lyrics and one beautiful chorus. We suggested Ben to do some rapping and so he did. Below you can find the lyrics Nathan wrote.
We are one people, one race
and one consciousness
Division and hatred and war
will only leave a mess
Come together in harmony
let us be as one
Come together in harmony
let's fulfill god's plan
Life is a journey
Our faith and trust in the unseen
What we teach our children at school
What does love/life really mean
When i first went to the prison i said to myself that i want to meet that world, i want to meet these kind of people that our society has judged so much. I want to see what is inside of them and what i can bring out musically and that time i was impressed. Lately i am focusing a lot on how the performers and composers communicate through the score and the sound. How the music speaks and how music is an extension of our language. It is a subject that i am about to publish later on my blog and that time in prison i faced the more natural way of speaking through the music. One who can only play some chords came out with lyrics so fast and so melodically. He was using the melodic line as a German composer. The intonation was very important to him and more specifically i was quite thrilled when i noticed that he uses higher pitch notes or was giving more time in the accented syllabes. Of course he wasn't aware of that but he was doing it.
After that we had a lunch break and we went back to continue with the recordings. Meanwhile the other group was working very intensively on another song, the ''artifial light''. I was with them at some point observing their work and i was questioning myself, for what artificial light they are talking about?
We spent the rest of the afternoon working on recordings, so a part of our work was to be there wait for our parts to be recorded. While the recordings was going on, the Padre asked us if we would like to have a tour in the wings. Well, of course the answer was positive and i have to say that we were always asking ourselves if we would have the chance to see what is happening there.
Charlie, Maria, Tim, Anna, Susie and me followed the Padre and we went inside their wings and cells. I can still listen the awfull sounds that were causing me headache. A sound full of reverb and many voices that sounded like shoutings due to the acoustic. Also the lights were so weird that you couldn't see very well. They were too white, making the environment not friendly at all. That time i said ''oh my god that is the artificial light the song is talking about''. People were staring at us like we were a surprise for them. Some of them they just couldn't stop looking at us, not in a bad way of course. As the Padre said, ''imagine being there 24/7 wearing green clothes and suddenly some people come in wearing normal clothes from the outside world''. At some point, two people started shouting at us and we thought that it would be a good idea to leave. As soon as we went out my eyes and ears stopped causing problems to my head and i was just wondering why do they do that to them?
We went back and i was looking at their faces and was listening to the recordings and the only thing i could do is to start understanding them even more.