During the Spring semester of TRaC, Music TRaC attended Alessandra Belloni‘s show at NYU’s Percussion Penthouse. The following are three reviews of three different experiences.
A couple of weeks ago I attended a show at the Percussion Penthouse, the performer was a percussionist named Alessandra Belloni. Both she and her show were an interesting experience. Once the show started she began to speak about the history of folk dancing, in particular she spoke about the tarantella. The tarantella is the dance of the tarantulas; it was believed that before modernization people would heal themselves with dance and music. Alessandra believed that this music still can heal people and help someone go through a traumatic experience in their life.
After she told us what her music was all about she unexpectedly handed everyone a tambourine to learn how to play. At first I thought it was cool, I liked how she was encouraging about how everyone sounded. However, after about an hour and half of playing nonstop I just could not wait to get out of there. By the time I left my wrist and arms were hurting like crazy. What I got from this show was a deeper meaning and understanding of folk music and the sound was not bad but after a while everything was tiring, the sound became annoying, and became boring.
This workshop was educational and I benefited from going. It’s always nice to go somewhere new, maybe somewhere out of your comfort zone, to learn something. In this workshop I not only learned about different cultures and societies, I also learned how to play an extremely intercut instrument in less than an hour! I personally have very little (meaning zero) drumming experience going into this workshop. And in saying that, it was not the easiest for me to catch on to the intricate drumming patterns.
Since the other students seem to know how to drum and keep a beat very well it’s seem to be much easier for them, but after a while I believe I just made up my own patterns. Alessandra Belloni was a very talented drummer, but I feel like she was a less talented teacher. Her techniques were very super sophisticated and she seemed to definitely know what she was doing. Her interaction with the audience was friendly and made you feel like you were in a safe environment. These aspects are very important in a performer/teacher; this is what helped her to make the workshop more enjoyable to her audience.
The event held at NYU’s Percussion Penthouse on March 31st was a rather interesting experience. It brought much entertainment knowing that I would have the opportunity to participate during the performance and be able to harmonize with others. As a unit we all sounded stupendous but then began the complications. As we maneuvered from one combination of hand rhythms to another, mostly everyone seemed to show a struggle in keeping up.
The host, Alessandra Belloni seemed to have thought that most of the guests had the ability to master the skills required to play the tambourine and other percussion instruments used during the demonstration. Of course it was all fun and games when the combinations were easy and simple. However as soon as we begun incorporating every single one of them at once and it seeming like we only had seconds to memorize each combo; it was all too much. The look of being cramped displayed on individuals faces as their hands began to fatigue. Many were not used to the specific way their hands had to move while playing the instrument.
They also had other difficulties such as the instrument being too heavy, too little or just having their hand in pain. Judging from the expressions on people’s faces, the majority of them were confused of what came next. Perhaps even the fear of being corrected or singled out was what distracted them from concentrating. Some would have taken it at their own pace while others slightly touched the instrument pretending to play it. Even with tiny bits of sweat dripping from peoples foreheads from having the hassle to keep up, the result of it all was marvelous. The medieval like sound that gave off when everyone played as one was a bit creepy and dark at first. Once the good vibes kicked in, it was impossible to get the song out of your head like a new catchy single being heard for the first time.