La Blogothèque

A Hawk and a Hacksaw

Paris often made us depressed. Gray and cold, the city lets the music wash over it, with an attitude of indifference at best, and contempt at worst. As if it wonders, what the hell are they doing here, in my way? However, despite the cold outside and the gray sky, this lazy, cottony Sunday suddenly proved itself to be a nice surprise. Paris came alive with kids.

Jeremy Barnes and Heather Frost, with an accordion and a violin, were the ones leading the camera. Slowly, slowly, take your time…let the autumn colors leave their mark on you… give the scene some time to set up, for the kids to meet and stop before us. Slowly, slowly.

For me, this first video really gets started at 4:50, when Jeremy Barnes knelt down in front of the kids, and–after letting a few notes echo, playing one or two fugues to gather his momentum–he eagerly started a melody that mingled perfectly with his surroundings. Gosh, this is Paris, both fantasized and real, the two facets colliding. In thirty seconds, Barnes, Frost, and all the kids around them knocked out the so-called Amélies of a certain insufferable film. Look, this is real–this is a public square, in Paris, on a Sunday afternoon. Look, there are kids watching–and they know how to listen to music, unlike us. For eight seconds, from 5:51 to 5:59, there’s nothing to differentiate these kids from those from the last century. What faces, what street urchins.

A Hawk and A Hacksaw are paradoxically disturbing: just like Zach Condon, they have been smitten by Balkan music and its exuberance, and they went off looking for it. But if Zach throws himself into it on trust, a bit like one jumps from a bridge, our duet goes for it with a more musical and well-considered approach. Also, their ability to draw a certain form of abandon and freedom from this music, creating a flood of notes that surges onto us, comes from them hardly ever smiling. No, they don’t take their music too seriously; they are simply unobtrusive, and let their music get the leading role.

This, specifically, is the paradox in these videos: unlike some other Take Away Shows, here you’ll find joy in the sound and also in the eyes of people we passed by–not particularly on Heather and Jeremy’s faces. That is why we hardly ever invite people to witness the shows, because our aim is that music attract people who don’t expect it. This is true here, more than ever. We should start the Square Sessions, every Sunday, with kids.

Translated by Nora