Grupo de Estudos de Música Corporal (Percussão, Voz e Movimento)
By Julius “Zuza” Gonçalves
For the last 10 years I’ve been walking the path of the teaching artist, someone that acts as a guide to music making. These were years of reflection and discovery, hits and misses, success and failures, ecstasy and frustration, but most of all constant paradigm changes.
I believe it’s essential that we remain always inquisitive; our art form is filled with traditions and dogmas that the music artist must question (many of them dating from post-revolutionary France). This dogmas, traditions and paradigms many times do not relate to our reality and are imbedded in the speech of more traditional technical and academic music teaching institutions.
They naturally take shape in outdated thinking patterns, unconscious mental habits, professional standards that are never reconsidered, and empty slogans repeated as truths that often turn music teaching and practice into an “undiscovery” process, where we are taught to ignore feelings, sensations, intuitions and desires in favor of a closed and preconceived knowledge: a recipe.
There’s no recipe for a free collective musical practice. To achieve it you need sensibility, availability, dedication, passion and courage; elements that no methodology can replace. However there are paths, and there are many people constantly investigating them as one investigates its own essence. Fritos group is a place where this investigation always happens.
Although I wasn’t a part of the group when Fernando Barba and Stênio Mendes led the work, I’m sure that the environment and philosophy that sustain our practice has a lot to do with them, and the way they see and guide music making.
Since 2009, when I joined the group, I see each and every member contributing to what I consider a collective search for the music making that we dream. We all participate in the creation of our group’s path towards somewhere yet undiscovered to us.
My master Samuel Kerr talks about the importance of developing an inner hearing, that is related to our past hearing: “everything you learn to hear throughout your life; moments that you held in your memory”, to our outer hearing: “everything you’ve been hearing all around you” and to our future hearing: “everything that does not sound, but that you can already hear! To dream, to create, to research…” (extracts from Maestro Samuel Kerr’s essay).
To me, Fritos is a constant and immensely pleasurable hearing exercise, in which we use our inner, outer and past hearing, listening to who we are, the world around us and the paths left by those that preceded us, in order to find our own music making; but also a future hearing exercise, listening to a world that is not sounding yet, but that we can already hear inside ourselves, in order to contribute to a different music making, along with our masters and partners that are hearing in the same direction.
Personally, when I try to hear myself today inside the group, trying to discover what exactly I’m actually doing there, I can hear the clear and definite sensation that before the technique, the aesthetic pleasure, before any individual desires I may have, Fritos is about the joy of being together, an unique joy we can only feel while researching and experiencing body music.