Last night we went up to London for the Bobby McFerrin concert at the Barbican. The programme warned us to “expect the unexpected”. I expected to experience something completely different from the “western culture concert paradigm”. So true…The London Vocal Project is an amazing choir (they memorized all the VOCAbuLaries songs, no visual aid), and Bobby McFerrin was extraordinary. The audience/performer barrier was broken several times. I must admit that was what I was looking most forward to. From everyone else’s reaction, I wasn’t the only one! I don’t think my voice is particularly good. But I do like to sing. Bobby McFerrin allows people like me to participate in music creation, and not just to sit there and listen.
Bailey and Davidson (2005) highlight the consequences of the Western Culture Elistist Model of Performance: though we all seem to enjoy music (both listening and making), we grow up in a society where a high level of excellence has come to be expected of all musical performances. Although this brings us incredible pieces of work, it has also relegated most of us to a passive role in the musical experience.
No wonder we seem to take any opportunity we get to go to live concerts! Listening to music doesn’t seem to suffice: we want to go to the concert and sing the song with all those other people!
Thank you Bobby McFerrin, for the experience! Was a great night and I recommend to all: if you get the chance, don’t miss it!
A little preview: