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Concerts marked by cross-cultural collaboration

Submitted by admin on September 7, 2024 – 5:31 pmNo Comment

With help from the Ford Foundation and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC), Nameless Sound will be putting on a four date tour called Acuerdo de Music Libre/Free Music Agreement that will feature artists from the US and Mexico engaging live improvisation and collaboration. There are nine musicians in the outfit, some from the US, some from Mexico, but all will play together in a free, spontaneous fashion with an emphasis on invention and musical dialogue. We asked Houston participant and trombone player, David Dove, some questions about the tour and what to expect.

FPH: Why did you guys pick Houston, of all locations? I’ll bet I speak for everyone by saying that we’re flattered. You’re only doing two cities and Houston is one of them so besides the fact that you’re from around here, there must be some other reason we’re so lucky.
: Actually - This is a rare occasion where Nameless Sound will help to organize an event outside of Houston (Mexico City).  Cross-cultural (and international) collaboration is fundamental to the development of ‘Improvised Music’.  In this approach, musicians don’t share a common musical language. Each musician brings their own musical vocabulary/ style to the table. This diversity of approaches keeps the music vital. But: so much exchange has been between US and Europe (and Japan). We live in Texas - neighboring Mexico (with a close cultural and geographic connection). Mexico has a rich history of avant garde arts (including experimental music).  Acuerdo de Música Libre/ Free Music Agreement was organized to explore connections and sow the seeds for future collaboration and exchange. It was also organized to hi-light world-class improvising musicians from Mexico. Though they are our neighbors, they are less known here than their European counterparts.
FPH: What kind of music can we expect to hear? Free Music Agreement sounds like a pretty open billing.
DD:We don’t know until it happens! There will be three sets per night (for four nights - two in Houston, two in Mexico City). Of the 9 musicians (8 in Houston) participating, different combinations (duos, trios, quartets, etc,) will be formed to make different ensembles.
FPH: What is your history with the group of musicians you are going to perform with during this tour? Do you guys know each other well or is some of this improvisation going to be completely cold?
DD: I know the Texas musicians very well. Of the Mexican musicians, I have only ever played with one of them (Remi Alvarez). One of them (Juan Pablo Villa), I have never met in person. Many of the musicians have never met before (pure improvisation).
FPH: Going back and forth between Mexico and the United States, are the audiences different? I’m going to be a tool and make you choose, where do you like performing better, Houston or Mexico City?
DD: Though I’ve played in Monterrey, Merida, and Cuernavaca, I’ve never before played in Mexico City. I love playing in Houston (its my town). But - I really value opportunities to play in front of new audiences (who don’t know you and don’t have expectations). I think that it’s very important for artists to perform for different audiences.

The two Houston gigs will each be on the 17th and 18th of September at the Corner Suite at 2312 Elgin and 800 Aurora Street, respectively.

-Jack Daniel Betz

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