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Can a pandemic stop musicians from creating music?

A law student, a computer scientist, a linguist, and a literature student from TCD meet virtually to create ‘First World Problems’

3 Countries One Common Card- Music

Six months into the pandemic – widespread pain with thousands dead and dying every day. Akin to a dandelion growing in concrete, four musicians from Germany, Italy, and India have come together to compose and produce an original track on everyday problems.

Earlier this month, Create, National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts, had announced a second round to the Artist in Community (AIC) scheme marking the tenth year of the AIC scheme.

Create’s belief that “by working together, artists and communities can purposefully explore how collaborative arts engage in distinct, relevant and powerful ways with the urgent social, cultural and political issues of our time” is very much reflected in the 2020 bursaries in Collaborative Arts and Cultural Diversity and Collaborative Arts and Human Rights.

Working collaboratively for several months now, music artists Kieran Sommer, Gabriel De Pace Catucci, Basit Hamid, and Lucas Bliesze are remotely composing and producing a song on ‘First-world problems’. The song inspired by everyday problems faced by students is a living example of artists using pain and turmoil to create art. In this era where the world is in immense pain and fighting hard and long battles, many artists around the world have lived up to the words:

“An artist uses the pain inside and converts it into beautiful art. Art becomes the best conductor of pain.”

-Sama

A law student, a computer scientist, a linguist, and a literature student from TCD now meet virtually and work on their upcoming music projects through a software called BandLab Mix Editor, an appendix of the Digital Audio Workstation Cakewalk.

Working collaboratively regardless of the distance and the difference in time zones, the four upcoming musicians find comfort in each other’s company and hope to make full-time careers out of music one day.

The Journey

Every year, September brings tremendous joy and diversity to Ireland; one year ago, as four students from completely different nationalities entered Dublin, destiny smiled on them as they walked the wet roads of uncertainty with nothing but a common love for music. Walking through the corridors of Trinity College Dublin, exploring and enriching the arts, Basit Hamid, a software developer and computer scientist met Kieran Sommer, a literature student on an Erasmus programme from Germany.

It was then that the band of three, The Woke Brigade saw their lead singer in Basit Hamid. A young ambitious man from the world’s most militarized, dangerous and volatile zones of the world, Kashmir, India. Basit, having looked into the face of fear, pain and conflict, travelled thousands of miles to forge his personality and live up to his dreams.

Basit Hamid

“My interest in singing began when I was 9 years old…coming to Ireland has further opened up a way for me to play in front of a crowd… I want to keep playing this way for the foreseeable future. And hopefully, this will open up new avenues where I can meet more people like Kieran, Gabriel and Lucas…”

The soulful pianist and linguist of the band, Gabriel De Pace, now uses Ancient Greek, Irish, Spanish, and his native Italian to add unique flavour to the music of the band. Gabriel who has a particular interest in classical and contemporary rock, and pop draws his inspiration from bands like Muse and Radiohead.

Gabriel De Pace

“I would like to make a living with music in the future and that’s why I will try to concentrate only on music after graduation…Though my linguistics studies have been extremely useful in that regard as well, since most of the linguistics can be applied to music in a fairly seamless way.”

The man with impeccable hand-eye coordination, Lucas Bliesze, a Law and Finance student from Germany adds rhythm to the band with his drumming skills. Lucas a firm believer in luck says that a musician must have luck to be successful in the modern-day music industry. During his hunt for students who shared a love for music, he met Kieran Sommer, who introduced him to the other members of the band.

Lucas Bliesze

“There’s a developed music scene here, to be making a living out of music, you have to be talented and you have to be lucky…To really go through the roof, you have to be lucky! Billie Eilish was luckier than her brother…”

Other than ‘the joy of making music’, Kieran Sommer is the common link of the international band. The British-German Literature student at Trinity is passionate about composing and producing music. Back home in Frankfurt, Kieran writes and records his own music under the pseudonym S-KP. He has recently released ‘The Dublin Song’ with Dublin, Ireland as his inspiration.

Kieran Sommer

“I write, arrange and mix all the songs and play all the instruments myself. In that respect, Dublin has been a huge inspiration as well, to such an extent that I wrote a track called ‘Amhrán Baile Átha Cliath’ (The Dublin Song). I was really pleased when it was played on Dublin City FM.”

“While we are from different backgrounds and nations, our joy of making music brought us together.”

Lucas Bliesze, ‘The woke brigade’

For years now, the the Irish government agency for developing the arts, The Arts Council of Ireland has been working in “partnership with artists, arts organisations, public policy makers and others to build a central place for the arts in Irish life.” It also believes that cultural interaction enriches the arts in Ireland by offering opportunities for mutual sharing, questioning, learning, understanding and change.

With Culture Night 2020 about to begin in a few hours, this year marks a year of revolution, change, uncertainty, and most of all flourishing and thriving through pain and difficulties. Artists in and around Ireland need the support of the government and the community, now more than ever.

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