Have and Hold

I started making videos of live music performances when I got my vlog on the Huffington Post in 2008. I was shooting world music for that, and using one camcorder and editing in Final Cut Pro. Eventually I started using multiple camcorders, creating travel and interview documentaries and later on, editing in Adobe Premiere Pro. These videos can be seen on my site, at https://worldmusicandculture.com/ and my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/michalshapiro

I started experimenting beyond documentation when my partner Bruce Arnold started making music with singer Judi Silvano. Bruce thought it would be a good idea to shoot the sessions which were also being recorded. My first “art” video was for a composed piece of Judi’s called “My Neighborhood.” There was something about the piece that made me want to express it in a different way. I created a moving collage, and it seemed to work quite well. Both Bruce and Judi started to encourage me in this direction and all the videos you see here are the result of that encouragement. I think each video in this collection represents a different stage of me trying to make moving images from the music I hear, under varying circumstances, from non-narrative to figurative, from simple to complex.

Because Sonic Twist’s® music is completely composed in the moment, the pieces are named AFTER they are recorded, not before. The name of each piece is based on the kinds of associations the music conjures up, and agreed on by singer Judi Silvano, guitarist Bruce Arnold, and me, after careful listening. This is where my visual reactions are born.

This slow pensive “music with dance” video is actually two performances in one. After I had captured Sonic Twist® (the duo of vocalist Judi Silivano and guitarist Bruce Arnold) in a series of sessions, Judi called in dancer Maria Mitchell, to improvise to the music. The jazz-inflected music is calm and peaceful, but with a hint of sadness or loneliness. The vocal is wistful and bittersweet with the music ending in a way that seems unresolved. The dancer wanders alone in a world of her own, until something makes her express a yearning and an attempt to connect with someone else who is invisible to us. She uses the scarf she holds to try to make that connection, but no matter what she does, in the end she starts as she begins, holding the scarf in her hands, alone. Throughout, I have used the footage of Judi and Bruce to keep their presence noted.

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