hosted by Dr. Gavin Douglas of the UNCG School of Music and Katherine Colborn, MFA student in the UNCG School of Art
The traditional Irish music session is relatively simple: it consists of a gathering of a handful of musicians who—often informally at pubs, coffee shops, or parties—come together for a few hours to play (and sometimes sing) Irish tunes in an oral tradition. While there are some common rules and etiquette, the session can be considered a foil to the formal or academic music tradition. A session is not a performance; it is an experience. It disrupts the hierarchy that separates the expert from the novice, the young from the old, the regular participant from the new-comer. It offers a space and structure where musicians can explore their relationships with one another, the traditional tunes, and the collective memory and history that the session embodies. The focus is always on the act of enjoying traditional tunes together and on participating in the ritual of social activity that takes place.
Visual art, not unlike music, is a powerful way of knowing, understanding, or reflecting on human experience. Can we remind ourselves of this idea if we take some time to thoughtfully engage with collaborative art-making purely as an act of inquiry and social ritual, and perhaps, even temporarily, deny the notion of art as commodity?
In this event, we will hold a session at GPS, with free food and drink, and we will also have a select couple of art-making activities inspired by the structure of the Irish music session. The evening will be appropriate for individuals of all ages and the session will be open to anyone who can join us in playing/singing Irish trad music. While listening/observing is welcome, engagement with the art-making activities is encouraged!