Monday, May 12, 2008

Touch the Sound

I watched this wonderful documentary Touch the Sound: a sound journey of Everlyn Glennie, from the same director of Rivers and Tides. It introduces to me the life and work of Evelyn Glennie, an amazingly talented percussionist in spite of her deafness. Her success proves to us again the meaning of hearing is not limited to the ear, but rather the ability of touching and feeling sound with your body and other senses.

The film offers a fascinating sight-and-sound experience by blending in Evelyn’s various trips and performances with interviews on her own interpretation of music. In the film, we travel with Evelyn around the world, watching her spontaneous performances at Grand Central Station and Guggenheim in New York; improvising several pieces with musician Fred Frith in Cologne; playing with Japanese taiko drummers while experiencing Japanese culture in Tokyo; visiting her hometown in Scotland…Everywhere she went, she was sensitive enough to put together a playful musical piece out of any available materials around her.

Besides portraying the world of Evelyn, the camera also captures and enlarges much of the everyday sound surrounding us: from the infinite noises on the streets of big cities and construction sites, to the quietness of a Japanese garden and the natural symphony of the Scottish landscape. These banal sounds suddenly became more palpable to me. The life of each sound gets buried by our neglect, however, is understood and reanimated by Evelyn.

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