John Cage

I stumbled upon this video of John Cage talking about sound – interesting guy and there’s something inspiring about his views on music.

(After his segment the rest is in French but stay tuned for a cute clip of a baby listening to its mother singing :-))

The belief that everything has to have meaning is terribly constricting and requires a sizeable amount of mental gymnastics to sustain (which gives us a lot of nonsensical ‘arty’ talk and theology…).

Here’s one of John Cage’s sonatas for prepared piano.

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As good as a rest…

A couple of people had commented that the website could do with being more compact. I’ve changed the format of it and I think it’s an improvement. Any comments are appreciated, here or on Facebook.

My birthday celebrations this year are nearing their end(!). Last night I was given an amazing surprise gift (let’s just say it plays music and has a touch screen) and earlier I had been guitar shopping. Family and friends have got money together for me to get a new guitar (I’ve had my old faithful for fifteen years now) and I finally settled on a Martin JC16-RGTE. Can’t wait to pick it up on Monday 🙂 It was by far the guitar I most preferred after visiting every music shop in Dublin before finding this one in my local – Goodwins on Capel Street.

Facebook page

I just published an artist page on Facebook. It includes a nice, neat music player and I’ve linked this blog to it. I’ve always much preferred using Facebook to using MySpace – it’s a cleaner interface and much easier to set up with content.

Type ‘Jay Wilson’ into the search box and up I’ll pop. If you like you can become a fan 🙂

Making overtures

Making overtures advertisement

Last year I went on a course run by Music Network all about building a performance career in music. It was packed with information from a number of top people in the various areas looked at: web design, PR, seeking funding, planning tours, accounting and taxes, health, community and outreach work. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone thinking of (or already with) a career in music performance. Music Network support musicians from many genres through their work, too, and I met classical, jazz, trad. and rock musicians on the week I did.

Cost for the five packed days is only €150, closing date for applications is 20 June and there are only 20 places.

Hamlet’s gig in Bewleys – 27mar08

I met Hamlet Sweeney back in January at The Purty Sessions in Dun Laoghaire; he was on the bill and I was playing with Jill. I really liked his humorous songs and thought he did a great job of performing them. About a month later he got in touch and asked if I’d play with him at a launch gig he was putting on in the Bewleys café theatre.

He sent me some demos, we chatted a couple of times and visited the venue before meeting up on the afternoon of the gig to rehearse. Plans to get a bass player had fallen through but there was a piano there so I was able to add body to the sound on that and on cajon. Everywhere I play the cajon people comment on it; it has such a remarkable sound, especially if you’ve never seen one played before and some dude on the stage starts thumping his chair all of a sudden!

We played:

  • ‘Canary in a coalmine’ – Hamlet opened on his own with this lovely song, capturing the audience’s attention in the intimate room.
  • ‘Is she real?’ – I added a nice little ostinato on the guitar.
  • ‘Boogie man‘ – when Hamlet heard I played the clarinet, he suggested I try it on this tune. It was great fun to play (it has a kind of ‘Hit the road, Jack’ feel to it and calls for some audience participation on the chorus, which went down well).
  • ‘Sunshine’ – a groovy, bluesy tune which I played on piano.
  • ‘The Una Molloy hangover song’ – piano again.
  • ‘Breathe in the light’ – to the cajon with some backing vocals in the refrains for this epic, gospel-y song.
  • ‘Voices in my head’ – this was particularly good, I thought. I added a simple piano part to the second half of Hamlet’s haunting song. Very effective.
  • ‘Street lights’ – Hamlet’s done a video for this one with a guy who I met at the gig, Mark Doherty, which should be interesting to see.
  • ‘Perfect day’ – a song that Hamlet’s had some success with on radio in other parts of the world. A summer song 🙂
  • ‘Buy this song’ – funny lyrics! I put in the drum intro from ‘Gold digger’. This’ll be great to play with a band.
  • ‘Mr Slim’ – Hamlet’s ‘beef’ song.
  • ‘Why must love die?’ – Hamlet went out into the middle of the packed little room and sang this alone. Lovely moment and another wistful beauty.

One of Hamlet’s friends captured ‘Voices in my head’ on video:

performance, teaching, composition & reviews