learning

GEMARTS EAST BY NORTH EAST PT 1

East by North East is a Youth Music funded project led by GemArts, providing opportunities for young people from diverse communities to come together and make music.  The project has already enabled over 190 young people to develop and share their compositions and performance skills in a wide range of genres, while addressing issues relevant to their lives, developing life skills and achieving Arts Award.

In addition, GemArts has further diversified the workforce of music practitioners, and East by North East offers training and development to ensure that creativity and diversity is thriving in the North East!

To celebrate the project we’ve asked some of our music leaders to share their thoughts on East by North East, their own development, and the groups they worked with. Read on for our first blog post.

GemArts East by North East Blog by Adam Cogdon, Music Leader

East By North East is a Youth Music funded project that brings together young people, and a staff team, from diverse backgrounds, celebrating different cultures and musical genres.  The music sessions allow us to explore different tastes and develop skills in music and to build confidence together.

Led by GemArts, in partnership with Sage Gateshead and community partners across Newcastle, the project works with a hugely varied and strong team. From the beginning East By North Easy aimed to pair up more experienced music leaders with talented emerging practitioners, to develop and build a diverse resource of delivery staff, spanning creative and cultural diversity as well as musical genres.  From what we learned in the first phase of East by North East, we were able to also expand the project in 2016 to include female groups at many of the centres, this in turn meant we could offer more opportunities to female music leaders to run sessions.

The project partners include:

CHAT Trust (Girls & Boys sessions) – Fenham

North Benwell Youth Project (Girls & Boys sessions) – Benwell

Life Transformational Church (Mixed session) – Fenham

Pottery Bank Pupil Referral Centre (Mixed Session) – Walker

West Walker Family Centre (Mixed Session) – West Walker

Excelsior Academy (Mixed Session) – Scotswood

Success4All (Mixed Group) – Fenham

Recent highlights of the project:

The Mega Boyz group from North Benwell Youth Project were asked to perform at a Holocaust memorial day focusing on the forgotten Czech and Roma people who died.  The young people’s behaviour was excellent and they did a great performance of the Song ‘Mega Boyz Swag’ I was very proud of them.

There was also a great performance from ‘Gipsy Lipstick’ who attend the Girls session at CHAT Trust.  They were quite nervous as it was only their 2nd or 3rd time performing, but I thought they did extremely well! The Lads Band also performed playing their instruments and singing some traditional Czech music.  They were very well rehearsed and sounded very professional.  Both groups were also asked to perform at the same venue a few weeks later at a health awareness day.

CHAT boys band performance  CHAT Boys Band performing

We recently launched a new session as part of the project working with West Walker Family centre, they are referred young people who need a bit of extra support and they take them to various activities.  Young people are already taking part in Djing, Music production and Guitar.  GemArts was chosen to pilot a new Arts Award scheme, called ‘Discover Arts Award in a day’, which we are delivering with the new East by North East group to see if it is something we can use across the whole project.

We have been making great progress at Pottery Bank PRU where traditionally we struggled to get young people to engage and perform. One young lad who had never tried Grime style MCing before but was keen to try it, has been supported by East by North East music leaders to write his own lyrics about his area and the things that go on.  Some of the other group members helped to make the backing music and the Song sounds awesome!  It has really inspired a lot of the group to see what is possible when you try, so I am really pleased with this piece of work.

We also started a new session at Life Transformational Church in the West End, which began in Jan 2017. The participants are mixed gender and range from 2 year olds to teenagers.  The participants are spilt into younger and older groups, each focus on developing Band skills and learning how to play different instruments.

LT Church 1  Life Transformational Church

The Project works with many young people from different backgrounds including, Slovak, Roma, Czech and African.  As well as developing and encouraging musical development the project has also had a positive effect on the participants’ English skills both spoken and written

During the last few months the sessions in the project are now gearing up for the Final Celebration event at Sage Gateshead (12th and 13th April 2017). This is a two day event that celebrates everything achieved throughout the project and brings all the young people from different areas of the city together to make new friends and share their achievements.  Day one will be a day of fun arts based workshops in a different vain from their regular sessions, including Graffiti Arts, Boom Dang group drumming, rehearsal time and other music sessions.  Day two will be an evening performance in the fantastic Sage 2 Hall.  We hosted a similar event in 2015 at the end of the first phase of the project, and it was amazing! The event was well attended by families, friends, partner organisations and local councillors, who all witnessed an exceptional evening of musical talent, fun and very positive young people performing their material.

I know the whole team are looking forward to creating an even better event than last time and giving these young people the platform that they deserve.

Adam Cogdon, EBNE Music Leader

Watch our East by North East 2017 film here

GemArts East by North East 2017 from GemArts on Vimeo.

If you are interested in the project please contact GemArts on 0191 440 4124 or email info@gemarts.org

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My week with GemArts

Hello, my name is Hina, I am a student at Joseph Swan Academy. In July 2015 I completed a 1 week placement with GemArts as part of my work experience. While working with GemArts Director, Vikas, and the team, I got to see what goes on behind the scenes at their events and during their other project work.

During my week with GemArts they had an event at the Newcastle Beacon, to celebrate the East by North East project GemArts led which helped young people from Newcastle learn about and create their own music. I helped GemArts Administrator, Jade, make sure there was enough CD/DVDs for the guests, and prepared the room before everyone arrived, making sure that the venue had enough space for the speeches and performances to take place, as well as helping set up the catering and check the sound. We handed out leaflets which included a running order of what would happen during the event. During the event there was a video about the progress young people have made producing their own new music. GemArts also presented some young people with Arts Award certificates which show how much commitment and hard work they had put into the project. Some of the groups also performed their music, which all the guests thoroughly enjoyed. At the end we helped tidy up the venue and had a chat with artists and guests that had attended to say thank you for coming and supporting the event. This opportunity was really interesting because I got to see what goes on behind the scenes of planning events and seeing the types of projects GemArts deliver.

Another interesting part of my work experience week was when I visited GemArts visual arts projects. My first visit was to the project working with a group of young mothers from different backgrounds living in Byker. I went to see this group, who meet up weekly in the Newcastle Byker centre with GemArts’ Project Manager, Alex. The women meet weekly, and work with GemArts artist Emma, learning how to make beautiful artworks using different materials. After seeing this group of women work together it made me think about how art can bring people from different backgrounds and cultures together, where strangers can start to get along like they are old friends. To me it shows how powerful and universal art is, something which I hadn’t previously thought about.

During the rest of my time working for GemArts I learnt how different people had different roles to help maintain the work of the organisation, and how the office runs. GemArts Communications and Development Officer, Sinead, explained how the organisation looks for opportunities and works to increase their audiences and the coverage of their events and projects. Part of this work included updating the school and organisation contacts lists on a database so the team will be able to contact these people about future projects and events.

Overall I really enjoyed my time working for GemArts for my work experience, and I learnt a lot about how they and other groups operate.

Here is a photo of me on a visit to one of GemArts’ secondary school projects holding an Anti Hate Crime posters design created by year 8 pupils.

Post by Hina Khalid

School Anti Hate Crime Project visit

School Anti Hate Crime Project visit

Photo by Nigo Chong The Chinese fox having her wedding

BUTOH

Myth of Butoh

Hi it’s Laichee again,

As well as being an MA student I am also a Butoh dancer, when GemArts discovered this they asked if I would write a piece for the blog explaining a bit about this dance form, so here it is.

I first started learning Butoh in 2009 with Malaysia’s first Butoh company Nyoba Kan. At this time I also learned from an important mentor, Yukio Waguri, a Butoh master from Japan. Yukio Waguri was the main disciple of Butoh founder, Hijikata Tatsumi (1928-1986).

Butoh was founded by Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno after World War II, when Japan was ruined and people started questioning their Japanese identity, resulting in Western culture becoming overly influential. Hijikata wanted to find a “true” dance, one that demonstrates the real identity of the dancers. Hijikata did many experiments before he named this new dance form “Ankoku Butoh” (dance of darkness). Unlike Western Ballet dance, in which the dancers try to dance upward and reach to the sky, Butoh dancers try to move downward to the earth, where they try to find their identity in the inner world.

The spirits suffer in Hell Photo by Royer Wan

The spirits suffer in Hell Photo by Royer Wan

Indeed it is not easy to give a definition of what Butoh is, I always forget exactly how I have explained Butoh right after I have told people about it. I would love to share with you the meaning of Butoh, as written by my dance mentor Mr. Waguri, so please read on and enjoy his thoughts on this art form.

What is Butoh?

By Yukio Waguri

[Translated from original text written in Japanese]

Butoh Master and Choreogrpaher Yukio Waguri by Nigo Chong

The Butoh master and choreographer Yukio Waguri Photo by Nigo Chong

The word of the “Butoh” has come from China. It also appeared in Japanese ancient documents 1,000 years ago. Before that the “Butoh” itself meant foreign culture or entertainment. The “Butoh-kai” held during Meiji period also used in the meaning to express the western culture. Currently, an enormous information network was set up all over the world, and the speed of the international interchange has really changed. Nowadays all of us facing with the overflow of the information, but that is necessity to stop once and consider the meaning of the “Butoh” again.

The character [Bu] of the “Butoh” means to turn/spin, over the mind concentration, it caused a de-soul situation then to let the spirit of god or ancestors or ghost to go into the empty container or human body and make them dance. And for the character “toh”, means step cautiously, jump, while the body absorbed the energy from the earth, the existence of the power to confine the bad soul of the underground. Also for the liberation from the daily hard working, the joyfulness of the good harvest, then become a celebration of religious service in the rhythm of nature, a ritual ceremony to call the spirits of the ancestral to return happily, and after that developed into a national level religious event. Naturally these “Butoh” exist everywhere in the world. It is not the unique thing that only occurred in Japan.

Then, what is the meaning of “Butoh” in nowadays? Due to the pioneer appearance of Hijikata Tatsumi/Ono Kazuo in year 1950-60, those arts expression was called avant-garde dance (ankoku butoh). After some time the “Butoh” was recognized and spreads out to the world, from then the name “ankoku” was disappeared and they started to call it “Butoh”. But I think that “ankoku” is the most important part for me. To set one foot step into the totally new area, actually it is an experiment mind for me. That is the reason why “Butoh” is defined as art. Why does the human desire for the light? I think none of them would like to live along in the darkness, neither in the society nor inside the human himself. We can only imagine the Land of Happiness, but the Hell is always in front of us. We must continuously face the darkness and death. Even if we try to ignore their appearance, with only express the existing beautifulness and dreamlike story, it will be turnout to be a poor art performance.

The “Butoh” shows that the existence of human being itself is an art. Currently we believe the harmony between the power and simplistic beauty from Europe, excessive belief to the health, the standard value of the beauty of the proportion, forced to accept the value of the commercialization of the arts. Especially the tendency is obvious in the dancing. So the “ankoku Butoh” began to pose the doubt about them. Isn’t it the “Butoh” rediscovered the human gentleness after the 2nd world war? What is the “beauty”? What is the expression come from the the unique ethnicity body/culture? These questions are the starting points of the “Butoh”. The arrogant humanism, mammonism are covered the world and begin to alienate human being itself now. The uneasiness for the human being actually is the human being itself now.

Although globalization is loudly shouted nowadays, each of us has to find our ways to solve the problems and step forward. “Avant-garde art, zen ei gei jyutsu” isn’t formed by begging hands. False or untrue gentleness and sympathy have nothing to do with “Butoh”, because everyone stands with their own foot to start to dance. And it is necessary to go through a long pupa period to become to flap like a beautiful butterfly. There is hope in the difficulty, after pass through the darkness then the light of the hope is waiting for us. While the world is facing with the political turbulences and the changes of the economy, in fact in our inner side, “Butoh” let us know that there is a boundless space surpassing the reality. The master Hijikata Tatsumi said that “the Butoh learn from nature, the body learn from the things”, I feel that is very meaningful for me. I think that the “Butoh” lives independently in the world, and from now on I will keep on thinking what is “Butoh”?

Post by Laichee (with text from Yukio Waguri)