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Anonymous asked: Hi Matana! I love Coin Coin! I am totally appreciative of your work and creative spirit. As someone of color I have posted your work on forums where peoples of color interact but I straight got the brush off! I really feel that your work is so seminal to the experience of blackness, feminity, struggle, hope and progress that it really should be more embraced. So I guess my question is, do you think peoples of color over look you? Do you feel more embraced by different races of people?
well from my observations, african american sound experimentalists for instance generally don’t receive wide notice in the african american community, particularly if their art form bounces off of some already well codified, sometimes commercially over saturated American art form: jazz for instance—of which im still part of in some sense, but in a very different way than is usual to most. I will always love that music, but its not the only american art form that has affected what/how im doing what i do…. A great book to read would be experimentalist’s George Lewis’s tome: A Power Stronger Than Itself. Very important book about a very inspiring collective of folk. Some of whom I have been lucky to know/have known, some of whom have shared great wisdom with me over the years. Really can’t impress upon you how important their contribution to what you are asking is.You should post that book in forums and any recordings/performance videos that you can find of Mr. Lewis et al.
I have had riffs of this conversation graciously with black jazz musicians of my generation, who are steeped thickly in the traditional aspects of jazz and was once told that the reason the black american community, for instance, is not as accepting of music like mine in comparison to theirs, is because it just takes so much to deal with and its tough enough being black in america, the last thing you want to do is listen to music that continues to present that toughness in some auditory form…. To me this explanation is way too bullshit surface level, as i intrinsically hear a much more thickly snarled, racist history sometimes in the more accepted forms of creative music, but I understand it in some ways too… It’s just i come from an ancestral bloodline of folk who felt challenging set systems to be the standard mode of existence…..Creating a life that can not be easily boxed into some generality about historical negro-ness…striving to uphold the importance of otherness and possibility…speaking up….. so that’s what I go for in my own way…I’m a history geek at my core, I do not know how to think about music without really thinking critically about issues of culture,gender, class and asking questions about it in my work. Not everybody’s cup of tea regardless of race…
I don’t feel over looked because i do feel that the POC that do find me, like yrself, are kindred spirits, and so i make my work for you, among many other types of people.And i hold no malice towards any other POC that can not deal with what I do. To each is own…. And yes i do feel lovingly embraced by other races, people across many different cultures who are able to instantly see/hear the link of humaness/history/universiality/ artistic griotness in what it is im trying to do.You can’t really get hung up on acceptance…. One of my favorite quotes is from punk icon Ari Up, she said, and i may be paraphrasing here: ” im not trying to be liked, i’m trying to be heard”. That sums it up 4 me pretty well. thanks for the support and the great question, I hear you, and many thanks for hearing me…. xm
not much time to write but after the strike debt/rj open house i went to on MLK day, it raised a lot of thoughts…good and bad… It brings up some old feelings for me about how i initially felt about occupy, seeing it as a place of privilege and wondering if it were really a sign of elitist american guilt ( brooklyn hipster style) at the complacency of american modern living, while the middle east was courageously shedding old skin…If Americans can’t be directly involved we will create/force/scheme a way…. the generation that started Occupy represented to me a group of good hearted, perhaps over idealistic folk who idolized the 60’s in some ways…and im not throwing stones, i idolize them too…bt at first i was suspicious of occupy and then i went to zucotti and many occupy spaces around the country in my travels…and during sandy i got involved…. and stumbling upon RJ and strike debt has been like a breath of fresh air, bc they are allowing a voice for something I personally used to be very ashamed about, and something that in terms of history I grew up thinking about/talking about at home almost daily…. But at the same time as i sat in a room on MLK day of mostly white eager faces, speaking on history and debt, hearing a kind white, long time activist man, with a self given african 1st name and a jewish last name, complete with an almost perfect ‘hood jazz accent i recognized , speak in a way I only heard my black grandparents speak about white people,(or a way I’ve heard white men into black women speak about white people…), and hearing folks speaking on slavery and the modern ghetto I wondered if I was in a “groupthink” room moving forward or in “groupthink” room moving back…back is not necessarily bad..history is a cycle remember….#streamofconciousness
frontrowheroes asked: Hi Matana, it's Emi from Poland. We (Front Row Heroes) are promoting your shows in Krakow and Warsaw. I read your post about the poster the graphic designer prepared for us for the shows. It's not from any finnish festival or anything. You see, we usually we give the graphic we work with a green light. This particular graphic designer likes photoshop:) Anyway, I'm sorry you don't like it. Next time, if it happens, we'll do better. See you soon!
Oh no, i dont dislike it!!! But just thought it was kind of funny.no worries! A very similar design tho actually was used for the tampere jazz happening in finland a while back. I can find it for u and send along, maybe your designer saw it online, maybe not. I generally dont like my photos to b photoshopped so extreme tho, that photo was taken by my favorite english photographer, #brettwalker. He is amaaaazing. Find him on flickr.i love brett bc he is like air when taking photos, u dont even kno he is there, he’s like a ghost. Anyway Its the cover of my 1st record on central control. Its a photo of me actually a bit irritated at a festival soundcheck. My hand is on my head bc i feel a headache coming on!so funny 2 me, bt great photo. bt please do let yr designer know i still like his version! Its flattering that someone would even take the time to make me look like i spend my off time on the milkyway! looking 4ward to poland!!!! Xm
Anonymous asked: hi matana thanks for reading, I was at a live solo show sometime ago and i was curious of how you find yrself constructing a solo set? especially on tour. also, is this composing mostly improvisation or some type of practice? thanks hope to hear from u.
Thanks for coming out to see me. Great question. My solo shows are highly dependant on the way i feel the energy of the witness particpants in the room. That usually sets the tone and then from there i consider certain composed and non composed structures. But i do explore different types of solo practicum. Generally on tour i try to stick to a certain single type so that i can consider how it might evolve over multiple shows. As i believe repetition teaches you alot. Types: 1. a full on improvised solo saxophone set in the chicago tradition from which i come. 2. A solo set that is a mix of improvisation and memorized compositions i have written 3. A solo set that is a mix of improvisation and songs from some of my graphic scores. 4. A solo set that is a mix of improvised saxophone off of non graphic scored compositions i have written 5. Acoustic saxopone improvisation, random composition and voice 6. Collage mix of saxophone, electronics, voice, improvisation, memorized composition and moving image/ video. I have been teaching myself this year how
to build my own video scores based off of the graphic scores i make by hand. Def still a
work in progress. So usually on tour, i Have to take in consideration the type of tour, the type of venues, the soundcheck time and then from there i decide which type id like to
develop. Bt its also nice to keep options in mind incase you end up playing in a place that said it had certain kinds of gear and it ends up not having. Its important to be flexible! In general everything comes from the 1 st type i mentioned, it is always my fall back and base.
Hope this answers well! Sorry 4 any typos. Writing this at the airport! Xm
today’s ny times. heartbreaking. I wish they would have talked to people with art degrees tho. and i think it’s interesting how none of the former students mentioned would give their last names. There is a certain shame that goes along with this kind of debt that no one really talks about. You go to college bc you want to be smarter. but then you end up leaving kind of stupid. (and sometimes feeling like an utter failure, which in the end can contribute to all sorts of health issues if you are not aware.) it’s really a shocking feeling. I wish my mom was still living, bt her dying released her from some of this as we were in a similar situation.The fact that I even had to approach her for help considering how much i already had to take out on my own is completely obscene/victimizing in itself.and the way this kind of debt fractures families is really sad. i also kno way more abt tht than id like. for a lot of the ancestry part of the coin coin work i dig into old estate records and just any financial records I can find. i happen 2 have my grandmothers student loan records from the late 50’s. she had a reasonable interest rate,monthly bill and had it paid off in 2 years. with this degree she ws able to devote her life to teaching kids in chicago tht no one else believed in.i kno some folks in my parents generation tht were starting 2 notice how bad this ws getting and armed with deeper knowledge abt whose brown bodies built the banks they were borrowing from were able to—still w/ a great deal of shame—discharge their debt n bankruptcy.and it continues. i just recently left a college community of wonderful, amazing, and giving people partly bc i felt like an undercover hypocrite encouraging other artists to accrue educational debt whn i still have not gotten my own under satisfactory control, and i can pretty much trace it all back to a 60 year old college sweet faced finance officer, with a nice grandmotherly smile, encouraging me 2 sign on a dotted line when i was barely 18. no regrets, i cld die in an hour, bt man art life is insanity and being an educated black woman in the 21st century is beyond complex.Sometimes I wish I were born deaf,blind and dumb or maybe just as a golden retriever or something…