Brendon Bussy

Land of the Underneath

Posted in Invention, Mandolin, Music, Soundtracks, Theatre by Brendon Bussy on September 30, 2011

After seeing our performance workshop at Out The Box, Caroline Calburn approached Jori Snell and myself to present a full length version of Land of the Underneath at the Inside Out festival(4-8 Oct in Observatory Cape Town). We agreed and Caroline also offered to help us a little by casting a critical directorial eye  (which turned out to be a real life saver!).

So after many late nights and bumping into tin cans (intentionally and unintentionally), Baba Yaga Theatre and Brendon Bussy are proud to present the new, fully enhanced, deliciously noisy and sensory adventure:

Land of the Underneath!

Suitable for 3 years to 100 🙂

Jori’s crown is played in Land of the Underneath

In ´Land of the Underneath’ a girl wakes up in a land where nothing is as it appears to be. In this land the not quite ordinary Noise Maker plays his instruments made of what we call ‘trash’, but for him they are magical objects. Together they discover a room full of delicious imagination where stories are born through objects and sounds come alive through playful movement. An interactive play inviting children of all ages to join the two characters on a journey of discovery.

Performance details (more…)

Strange Neighbours at House of Joy

Posted in Events, Music by Brendon Bussy on September 19, 2011

Some time back I approached Kolade and Emma, to have a house concert at their home (the House of Joy) in Observatory, Cape Town. They very generously agreed. It went well and since then they’ve hosted at least one such event a month. It’s really grown with some high profile acts and good support. Well this month I’m back, this time supporting Masha in an evening of story telling using voice and sound this coming Sunday 25 September.

Antjie Donder - One of Masha's Strange Neighbours

Masha will dip into her new short story collection “Strange Neighbours”, bringing its menagerie of unexpected Capetonians to life. These include trolls with a taste for pepper spray, mermaids and mysterious roast chicken eating backyard dwellers. Brendon will provide the live soundtrack using his perishable and astoni…shing instrument inventions – Gourmet Harps and other noise makers made from the bits we normally throw away.

There’ll also be tales from other parts of the world, including the beautiful world of Inuit (Eskimo) legend. But beware: these are grown up stories. Dark secrets will be revealed in these stories with and without words.
Here are the details: (more…)

How We Made Noise at Out The Box

Posted in Design, Events, Invention, Music, Soundtracks, Theatre, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on September 15, 2011

Noise was prevalent at last week’s Out the Box festival, and I made some of it.

I created original music and sound design using a table lamp amongst things, for Ubom! Theater’s Door and sound design for Kim Kerfoot’s hilariously dark Guillotine – part of Iqonga, Handspring Puppet Company’s experimental platform at the festival.

And I also found ample opportunity to test drive one of my new instruments, a perishable harp made from a 5 litre bottle and bamboo rod. Nicknamed ‘the Stick Insect’ I played it at the festival launch and garnered some favourable astonished responses (“What’s That?”). Then I used it as part of a performance workshop which Jori Snell and I ran called ‘Land of the Underneath‘.  Here’s a dramatic picture:

Playing the Stick Insect

And here’s a close up: (more…)

Children’s Theater – Not Only for Children

Posted in Soundtracks, Theatre by Brendon Bussy on September 15, 2011

So the Out the Box festival is over. A huge selection of performances, but I managed to get a taste of some of the best, much of which was high class children’s theatre.

I’ve realised the challenge of children’s theatre – how do you keep a highly energetic and perceptive audience enthralled for the duration?

I saw The Sand Boy, a simple story – a boy on a beach fashions a boy out of sand who then comes to life, has many adventures (including an epic fight with a lobster), then falls for a mermaid. It sounds light and it was, however the story was a vehicle for a sensual feast utilising complex lighting, a dramatic and detailed instrumental score, not to speak of the smoke and bubbles (!). I was really impressed at Omar Alvarez’s skilful control of all aspects of the production, including of course, the puppet manipulation, an impressive demonstration of an Argentinian tradition of puppet theatre where the manipulator does everything on stage.

The Sand Boy with his Mermaid

Another highlight was Bye Moon presented by the Belgium based Pantalone company. At only 10mins long, many avoided it thinking it wouldn’t be worth the ticket fee. (more…)

How to Create Noise Makers with Personality

Posted in Design, Invention, Music, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on August 3, 2011

In early September Cape Town’s Out The Box festival comes to life. Its focus is ‘puppetry and visual theatre’ and presents quite an eclectic mix of performance media – the traditional plus all of the newer stuff (video, installation etc).

I’ll be presenting two workshops, one with Jori Snell – which explores sound and movement (read more about it here). And one solo which focuses on the nitty gritty of building and playing unusual string instruments, or more broadly speaking, ‘noise makers’ for use in theatre and life.  See below for the detailed info.  And if you need to know more, you can contact me directly.

Water Bottle & Sardine Can Segankuru (Zulu fiddle)

How to Create Noise Makers with Personality
Sunday 11 September
10h00 to 16h00 (6 hours)
Venue: Cape Town, venue to be confirmed

This workshop focuses on making and using unique and quirky musical instruments. (more…)

Workshop: Making Useful Instruments

Posted in Design, Invention, Materials, Music, New Old Old New, Research, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on June 25, 2011

I’m going to be running a workshop focusing on building and playing stringed instruments made from found objects.

Based on traditional (and not so traditional) African instruments such as harps, fiddles, lutes – made from tins, cardboard tubes, boxes, and any suitable odd but useful object.

seriously playing a cardboard kora in district 6

In the first session we’ll explore (more…)

How to Build a Harp in the Ground

Posted in Invention, Materials, Music, New Old Old New by Brendon Bussy on June 2, 2011

Last week Nicola Visser and I decided to make a Ground Harp.

So we met at Cape Town’s Constantia Nek and headed into the pine plantation equipped with spade and Angel the dog – the essential ground harp equipment.

We placed a soundboard over a hole which Nicky had dug amongst the roots of a tree. Then one foot on the board, we tensioned a length of nylon gut which had been attached to the centre of the board.



Table Lamp + Inspiration = Soundtrack

Posted in Design, Invention, New Old Old New, Sound, Soundtracks by Brendon Bussy on May 2, 2011

Recently two of my troublingly diverse interests conspired to create a soundtrack for the production Door which will play at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival this year.

This is how it came about….

Earlier this year, I was wandering around Cape Town’s Cape  Design Indaba, after running a workshop.  I found myself  drawn to a project display which attracted me due to its ‘work in progress’  nature.  I love prototypes, they smell of pure idea and this one positively reeked 🙂

Run by two young industrial design graduates who call themselves ThingKing, their stand offered a kit table lamp fabricated as simply as possible –  a metal flat bar, elegantly bent and cut.  A bulb socket, light bulb and piece of A4 paper completed the construction.  On sale for a donation (to a worthy charity) and on display as a stimulus to conversation about efficient design, I couldn’t resist (especially the conversation) and I took one home to assemble for use on my work bench.

Here it is:

table lamp

And as a lamp it’s been very useful.  But little did I know that this useful object would become the catalyst for a sound track. (more…)

FAERIE’S AIRE and DEATH WALTZ: The Silliness of Absurdity

Posted in Music by Brendon Bussy on February 15, 2010

A few days ago I watched a  world premier performance of  FAERIE’S AIRE and DEATH WALTZ (from a tribute to Zdenko G. Fibich).

The performers, the Colorado State Music Teacher’s Association,  are an appealing group of older music teachers.  They certainly do a great job.  Watch it, it’s worth a giggle for more than one reason.

Copies of the score by John Stump have been bouncing around the www for some time (more…)

Death of Great Japanese Assimilator of Instrument Design

Posted in Invention, Mandolin, New Old Old New by Brendon Bussy on February 15, 2010

News from the US today that famed guitar builder Taku Sakashta has been found killed. This builder’s wonderfully crafted instruments really epitomise, for me, the skill required to successfully assimilate design.

Read the article here.

Have a look at his instruments – guitars of essentially American invention are given a subtle design twist making them unmistakably Japanese.

I’ve often admired his mandolins – in particular the famous Mustang with its reverse scroll. This is what an F Style usually looks like.

Does innovation like this die with the innovator?