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Reflections on 5th Wikiloops Jam in Steinfeld 2018

posted on #1
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Wow.... So many impressions, so many moments, hard to know how to get started. Though I can say it was a total blast, start to finish. Tremendous levels of musical competence from everyone, and huge generosity in terms of ideas and space for each other. The ambience of Steinfeld was so conducive to freedom of ideas and cutting loose and rolling with the jam as different directions got taken with the vibe and the groove. Full of light and peace and good vibes.

It is now a week later and I am back in Kuala Lumpur and I am still buzzing over the Wikiloops weekend. And thinking, Dear lord, how we are blessed with the ability to talk and hear and also the gift of being able to make old and new music with like minded friends! Sometimes we take these things so much for granted when I think we should somehow celebrate or give thanks to... Something. Maybe the universe or the forces behind it. Just so grateful for these gifts.

And I felt I learnt a lot. My major takeaway was that I could hold my own with all these amazingly talented musicians. The virtuosity of these guys is stunning, and not only for single instruments - many of them were going from keyboard to bass to drums to brass as if it was the most natural thing to do. I subsequently realised perhaps I was doing a similar thing in cutting across the styles that different jam groups were producing. Multi vocalling, if you like. In which I discovered an unexpected latent love and seeming resonance with Latin America; scatting and verbalising some of the rhythms. And when you get a smile of acknowledgement from these guys, then whoa...... Felt like a total welcome. And for me, validation. A nod that seemed to say I am doing something worthy and well. Which for some reason I felt I really needed. An acknowledgement that I am in the company of peers and people worthy of respect. Farking priceless. Feels that something has become complete. A sense of.... Can't think of the word. Feeling at peace. Can die happier as a result. But not today!!

I learned that lyrics I had originally envisaged as fitting a particular style or genre actually transposed quite easily to others. The band would start a jam and I would flip through the PDF files on the ipad in search of a lyric to fit. Got some unexpected matches! Though next time I will organise by intended styles as well, since a lot of time got spent flipping and reflipping through the alphabetically Organised. There was invariably a need to modify the lyrics on the fly since the music would necessarily be mostly single progressions of chords repeated. So vocally I would end up mostly riffing on a phrase to build up to climax or finding some new phrase inspired by free styling scat or following a musical phrase kicked up by the jam.

And I also learned that some of the lyrics were never really going to fit because of the subject matter and tone. Steinfeld was clearly a fun jam amongst muso people who have their own world views and I realised that there was no point to impose mine on them. How not to admire this massively large cadre of high caliber musos? From now on, I am going to seek to write for the mid tone, jazz funk, and leave off the ranting. More soul blues too - someone said I reminded them of Van Morrison so I am going to dig out Astral Weeks and give a listen. Also change a lyric from balls to bones...

There are many elements that made this annual gathering the magical and special weekend that it is. But ultimately it was all about the people who came to participate and support. We might not have previously met in the online space, but I feel we walk away with a newly forged bond of... Perhaps not quite friendship, but a mutual respect and grateful thanks for what we each brought to the musical party. Musos de Guerre. It is similar to people with whom you shared the stage in an arts or theatre presentation; we shared an indelible, indescribable, exquisitely poignant moment of life that, for me, will be tattooed on my soul and echo across eternity. If there is such a thing.

There were many special moments in this. The drive with Wolfgang to Steinfeld from Frankfurt airport and seeming to hit continual roadblocks barring our way. Setting up the sound canopy in the electric room with Nilton, Ruth and Helen. The taste of Mama Kaiser's amazing welcome chocolate biscuits. Turkish coffee upstairs with Dick, TeeGee and Kimbo. Willy's big and totally adorable shaggy dog bounding across the courtyard and getting everyone to immediately fall in love with him. Hearing and seeing Wade playing alone to the trees in the middle of the forest and scaring him with our whoops and cheers. And him bringing back blackberries in the horn of his sax. The meals in the refectory. OlivBee sharing his cheeses in the kitchen. Drinking lots of bottled beer across the nights with a fire to keep off the evening chill. Some amazing virtuoso playing from everyone. Claudia (jamlady) superb cello pieces in the Acoustic Room with Lothar (mandolodda) and the non electrified players. Peter (pewi) going total music bonkers with many brilliant flute adds in the Electric room and Dion (Navota) recorder adds floating over the jams. Nilton and his constant "so good to be here" smile as he chopped rhythm guitar. The three Marks - all on boards though Nadrek Mark played a mean trombone and Moog Mark crossed over to drums and bass. And the big broad grin that never left his face all through the weekend. The brass section of Wade, Joe, Pit Brett and Nadrek Mark that totally nailed it on many of the jams. Fivestringer's stunning bass lines on his, er, five string bass. And his constant good humour end observations across the jams. One that stuck was when it was either Kimbo or TeeGee or Andreas Adu who broke a string on the guitar, he quipped that they were now also a five stringer! Or maybe it was Christoph Tof who broke the string? And there were some jams which just... transcended. Especially the last jam of the weekend on the Sunday morning (Charlotte and everyone doing what came to be named It Ain't Over) - total connection between all us players and the jam. Lemmy once said that playing live is about working to create a perfect moment when it all comes together - the vibe, the tightness, the connection across the players and with the audience. And when it does happen, then just experiencing it and feeling it and marvelling at it and letting it go. And once created then looking to create another. Then another. It Ain't Over was one of these. Roll on the next one.

But overall, I will remember the warmth and the laughter and the grins and smiles across the faces of everyone. The sense of welcome and acceptance and the simple "Glad that you could make it and let's jam some new music" vibe of the whole weekend. There are not enough words of thanks for Wikiloops operator Richard (Dick) Kaiser and the family team for putting this weekend together. As said, there is a little bit of Steinfeld now forever etched in the heart and seared on this soul. And I hope there is a little bit of me there too. Again, Total connection. I do hope to attend future Wikiloops gatherings, though I see some scheduling issues in 2019. I would urge any Looper reading this to do the Wikiloops Jam if the opportunity ever arises. Best damn time I have had in years. And I will throw money to help keep it alive. It is hugely special and magical and so good for the spirit. Long may the jam roll!
posted on #2
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yes, yes, yes and yes again, I confirm every word you've written here! I had the most respect for the singers. In my opinion it takes a lot of courage to go to such an event just with your lyrics and an idea. You don't know what is coming and then you stand in front of the microphone and sing that the fellow musician gets goosebumps! Many thanks for your so cool voice, it was a great pleasure to make live music together with you!
posted on #3
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Hey Brian. True words from you. I agree with all.
The best thing is, even after 5 years you will still find something new. Nice that you were there and pleased us with your lyrics and singing. All the best and hopefully until next time. :)
Rockin´ in a free world !
posted on #4
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Hello all. I was just reading all your comments about the Wikiloops Meeting. I feel such happiness for you all that you had the chance to experience such a wonderful event. Though I was not there I feel I was in mind and spirit. I was still writing and adding here on Wikiloops having a blast as I always do.
Well thats all.
Mike <<^,,^>>
MIKEBINEZ
posted on #5
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Brian, wow, thanks for your kind words - couldn't have said anything better about the event myself! And you with your always witty and fitting lyrics which you found on your ipad, and then that voice! - wow thanks man that you could make it, and give us the pleasure to be with us.

I agree also on what you said about everyone else. In general I also learnt a lot, and I felt great joy to be with there with you all. I've caught the virus, as Charlotte and TeeGee wrote already - so I want more of it ;)

Again, thanks mate, to you, and to everyone else. I feel honoured to call people like you friends :)

Cheers,
Wolfgang
Edited by wjl on Septembre 08 2018 20:02
posted on #6
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thanks guys for sharing your thoughts. I will make it there some day--just very cool and uplifting to hear all your thoughts and impressions. - Gator
Gator
posted on #7
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Couldn't agree more, thank you
Pure fingerstyle
posted on #8
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Brian, it was a pleasure to meet you, and I hope we'll do it again next year if my old bones *caugh* will allow it. You and the other singers certainly added a lot of fun to the jams. :W
posted on #9
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Hey Brian !
it was definitely very fun to finally get to meet you in Steinfeld ! thanks for the nice jams :)
clusters Clusters CLUSTERS !!!!!!
posted on #10
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Thanks for finding the perfect words to translate so well Steinfeld mood, I couldn't say it better too !
;)
The more you learn, the less you know !
posted on #11
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Singing or writing you are good with words! ;) This was a great edition of the wikilooos membermeetimg jamfest! :D Thanks to all jammers.
posted on #12
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you were as much appreciated as you seem to have appreciated all of us......great to have met you.
he who works with his hands, is a labourer
he who works with his hands and his head, is a craftsman
he who works with his hands, his head, and his heart, is an artist.....(I try not to work)
posted on #13
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Excellent summary and responses. Yea, it was the best ever. Here's hoping that it can continue and we can make it happen into the future. Long way for Brian to come. So good that he found it worthwhile. Wish I could show up and have something to contribute without carrying a ton of instruments. Good on you Brian!
You're only as old as you smell
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