Brendon Bussy

Silent Noise via Dum Ka Pa

Posted in Events, Music, Research, Sound, Theatre, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on October 27, 2013

Over the past year and a half I’ve been working full time as a music and art teacher to mostly primary school students and students with special needs . One of the techniques that I’ve developed is a simple hand sign and body percussion system which has come to be known as  Dum Ka Pa (DKP). A system loosely based on the systems used for teaching middle eastern percussion.

The initial intention of the system was to teach rhythm however this system has developed into a broad exploration of the nature of sound, not just auditory (as we hear with our ears), but also tactile (vibration) and kinetic* (the way we move in response to sound).

Over the past year I’ve been doing a great deal of research around sensory perception, especially how we construct our conception of the world via our senses. This process is not entirely objective or straightforward and leads to many interesting questions which end up being very useful grist for my creative mill.

A serious exploration. However my intention has always been to keep it fun for myself and the people I work with. So my method is slowly evolving into a springboard for physical theater with madcap tendencies such as Normal Noise , a performance I work-shopped earlier this year with young deaf performaners, and even experiments with Sign Rap using South African Sign Language (which I am currently learning).

Recently I’ve started using my techniques to create participative experiences with adult audiences – an exploration of sensory perception by turning the body into a kinetic music machine, an energetic and enjoyably absurd activity. Can you hear sound without noise?

During November I had the opportunity of performing as part of the Paarden Eiland Concert series where I performed Silent Noise and the following images give a rough idea of the manner in which the performance unfolds.

*I’ve started experimenting with the term ‘kinetic melody’ – a term borrowed from Oliver Sacks who used it to describe the manner in which people with Tourette syndrome are able to calm tics through engaging with rhythmic activities.

Silent Noise intro: A backdrop of pink noise is played over the sound system to induce a sense of auditory deafness. I 'draw' the texture of the sound by tracing a large circle with a jittery finger in the air.

Silent Noise intro: A backdrop of pink noise is played over the sound system to induce a sense of auditory deafness. I ‘draw’ the texture of the sound by tracing a large circle with a jittery finger in the air. (pic: Kim Gurney)

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*G Force* make Normal Noise at Edge of Wrong

Posted in Sound, Theatre, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on March 9, 2013

Last weekend at the Edge of Wrong four young deaf performers known as G Force presented Normal Noise. A performance resulting from a workshop I’d run with them.

Their mission: to present their full sensory experience of a ‘normally noisy’ world.  So that a hearing audience might think again about the sensation of hearing.

And they were a hit which made me very (very) happy. And proud 🙂

Applause for G Force at Edge Of Wrong. On left is Tshepiso Betty Mokoena - our amazing Sign Language interpreter for the evening.

Applause for G Force at Edge Of Wrong. On the left is Tshepiso Betty Mokoena – our extraordinary Sign Language interpreter for the evening. (pic: Niklas Zimmer)

At some point a video will hopefully become available. In the mean time, here is an account in words with pictures by the versatile Niklas Zimmer. (more…)

A New Adventure – Hearing with Touch

Posted in Sound, Theatre, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on June 30, 2012

The ‘new adventure’ in this blog title refers to the excitement I felt and encountered during a sound workshop I recently ran for deaf theater makers.

Sometime back, somewhat inspired by the deaf musician Evelyn Glennie,  I approached Jayne Batzofin from the theater group FTH:K with the idea of creating a soundtrack for a deaf audience. In the process of discussion she invited me to run a workshop for the group’s deaf trainees.

Well the workshop ran well. Very well. One of those really amazing paradigm shifting moments in life where you realise that things are not as you thought they were!

The workshop in pictures:

We each take a turn having our heads buzzed whilst wearing the hard hat – trust me it feels great!

Playing circular saw blades which have very long and powerful sustain – you can feel the vibration from several centimeters away

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A Man and a Man and a Double Bass

Posted in Music, Theatre by Brendon Bussy on December 2, 2011

Last night I had the privilege of being (besides management and co) an audience of one. Not so great for the performers, who deserved much more – John Cartwright (voice) and Leroy Cowie (bass) performing their utterly unique two man, one double bass show at the New Africa Theatre. The programme included ‘The Last Double-bass Player on the Titanic’ (Haresnape/Hardy/Helman/Burle) and TS Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’.

(My apologies in advance for the following incident report)

A Man and a Man and a Double Bass

Left a narrator
Right a bassist
(known to each other)

Bassist partially hidden by music
(playing not hidden)

Narrator with acutely bent music stand

Scattered music on floor
(played and to be played)

Noises mesh despite

 

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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…)

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…)