The Gathering is a space, place and time where we can build up confidence in our creativity; where we can sit in silence,
sing, play an instrument, draw, be poetic; prophetic; we could talk in tongues, talk to each other, to ourselves, talk to
voices. We can listen, make sounds; melodies and noise, soft and loud; leave space, fill it up; explore rhythm and time, chaos
and rhyme; lullabies and laments; shyly and boldly be in our different rhythms together.
In 1989, at a meeting of the London Musicians' Collective, a few of us felt that it would be good to come together in a way
that was less stressful than some of our meetings - a Gathering. It started with improvising musicans but quickly expanded
to include anyone who wanted to explore and experiment in a welcoming environment. It's a place where experienced musicians
use their skills to encourage rather than exclude others.
It's possible to participate at any level that feels comfortable. Everyone is musical in some way; a sigh, sounding the
breath, one simple strong repeating beat, blowing across a bottle, tapping a glass, singing one note ... All these sounds
can be just as powerful as knowing an instrument well.
Many experienced musicians have come to respect the challenge of simplicity. Whatever the level of musicianship for me,
it's about trusting our ability to communicate and be expressive through sound and silence. At our Gatherings, things happen
at different levels. We can be in the middle of a gentle, intense moment and someone will walk in and be greeted with enthusiasm.
Some people chat, while other people play. It's the nearest thing to freedom of being that I've ever experienced.
It's hard for people to let go of what we've been socialised to believe is 'proper' music, but in letting go of preconceptions
we discover the joy of music as a liberating and healing force.
|Maggie & Michelle
|The 'Grand Gathering' at Hecate's Haven 2004
Gatherings (open improv sessions) are held in various locations.The London Gathering is at Chances
in Tottenham High Road Check facebook The Gathering Free Improvisation page for more details. There's also a you
tube channel The Gathering Things. Also a gathering takes place on the first Monday of every month in Drefach Felindre,
Carmarthenshire, West Wales from 8 p.m Please telephone 01559 370081 for directions. There's also a monthly one in Liverpool
at The Bluecoat Arts Centre.
Admission to Gatherings is free, all welcome.