Dr. Lonnie Smith keeps playing live

Up to this day, the technology just keeps advancing and giving us further convenience including musical “experience”. The establishment of Youtube channel, Spotify, iTunes and so on, enables us to enjoy abundant of music materials. Not only that, the advancing internet streaming also gives us the option to watch “live” music performance anywhere in the world with the comfort at our own home. However, live streaming, even in real time, is still not real live. Virtual “live” music performance lacks of real connection between the audience and the performing artist(s), not to mention the live atmosphere that takes place during the performance.

Experiencing live musical voices, melody, rhythm and harmony could enhance our emotion, and elevate our sensibility; being there in the crowd could also give us the sense of commune. So no matter how advance the broadcasting or streaming technology is, real live performance still cannot be replaced.

In the recent Java Jazz concert, Listen to the World (LttW) had the opportunity to briefly interview Dr. Lonnie Smith, a prominent Afro American Hammond keyboardist. We incidently ran into him in the hall way right before his gig started. Although in a hectic situation, he kindly granted the interview. During his performance, we felt his glorious spirit through his mimic, keyboard playing, and his rhythm improvisation on electric pad drum. Obviously the emotion and power of his performance hits our vein at the time.

Dr. Lonnie Smith is an unparalleled musician, composer, performer and recording artist. An authentic master and guru of the Hammond B-3 organ for over five decades, he has been featured on over seventy albums, and has recorded and performed with a virtual “Who’s Who” of the greatest jazz, blues and R&B giants in the industry. Consequently, he has often been hailed as a “Legend,” a “Living Musical Icon,” and as the most creative jazz organist by a slew of music publications. Jazz Times magazine describes him as “a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a turban!” Always ahead of the curve, it is no surprise that Dr. Smith has a worldwide fan-base.
Taken from: drlonniesmith.com

Dr Smith, you seem like a very peaceful person, what’s the key to that?

Relax… Take life easy, because it goes so fast. People tend to do everything. So don’t rush doing it all.

You said Hammond B3 is your favorite organ that has all of the elements, like fire, rain. Is it the sound or the feeling?

It is the feel and also sounds, and when I was playing it was like electricity, it’s like a plane flying through my body. So it has everything that could happen; when it passes you can’t beat that.

Being in Jakarta, it’s really far from US; with the internet streaming, you can actually perform live for millions people from your home, why bother coming here?

If you play music, you should be playing live. Experience the live atmosphere that you have, instead of just notes, you know…

I want to play for people in different places and see other flavor of experiences and so on; being here it’s real, not fake. One on one with the people is worth it; it’s worth all the traveling. When you play for people, right there, nothing beats that. If you play bad, then you want to play more. It’s worth something that you always cherish in your life. Don’t have to worry about on and off or stuff.

I may fall when I didn’t finish what I had to do. When I said passed, I will return to complete my work. It’s nothing that real as far as I know. It’s special; I was brought to earth to play music. That’s why I want to [keep] playing ‘live’.


Is Democracy Dying?

War is never a good thing; its impact is always catastrophic no matter what the purpose is, and yet the warring parties still view war as a “solution”. To us, the main reason why the world still witnesses war is because we humans are still territorial beings. The territory itself is much more than just geographical; it stretches to politics, economy, technology, and religion. When any territory is felt threatened, people respond in many ways, and often irrationally. So we agree with John Steinbeck, one of the greats in American literature, who once said,”All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.”

Following the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, globalization seemed to be embraced as the way to world peace. Along with it, democracy and sense of freedom seemed to flourish everywhere. Today, democracy is still at center stage, but it is viewed and practiced as a mechanism that divides rather than unites people. Democracy respects and upholds diversity within the frame of unity. So if the frame transforms into disunity, is democracy still relevant to our lives?

France, reaffirming her national identity:
liberté, égalité, fraternité

[Jakarta, LttW]. After months of uncertainty and anxiety, the French people have finally spoken, and the world hears their voice loud and clear! Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron forged a historic and landslide win in recent French Presidential election, not only because he leads the youngest political party (En Marche!) to a victory, but also becomes the youngest President of France ever. What’s more, Macron defeated the much-feared far right thoughts and movement led by the Front National Party’s candidate Marine Le Pen.

Since the establishment of En Marche! Macron has received numerous political endorsements coming from array of supporters that include the eco movement party Écologistes!, centrist political party Mouvement Démocrate (MoDem), socialists, and also the French Muslims. Even so, Macron is yet to assemble majority support in the Parliament to implement his campaign promises. Macron himself, in his victory speech, promises to reunite the divisive France.

As for Europe, another battle between the globalist and nationalist is going to take place once again in Germany’s federal election in September, 2017. After two major wins in Netherlands and France, we’ll see if the globalist can do the same in Germany.

In the meantime, saluer les gens de France pour défendre sa véritable identité nationale :
la liberté, l’égalité, et la fraternité ! et félicitations monsieur Macron ! It’s time to replace the Front National’s campaign motto “On est chez nous” with “C’est notre véritable maison!”
Keep marching En Marche! (desk)

How electro and techno could help to revolutionise school music lessons

Pete Dale, Manchester Metropolitan University

For many British children, the music they grow up listening to with friends, family, parents and relatives is often not reflected in school music lessons. So while their teacher is trying to get them to listen to Mozart, Bach or Beethoven, back home in their bedrooms the radio is often tuned into a very different station. The Conversation

Improving access to classical music for children from deprived backgrounds has been a priority for music education and rightly so. Because there is no good reason why the daughter of a brick layer or the son of a shop assistant shouldn’t be enthralled by Mozart.

But it is likely that for a lot of these students, rather than Chopin or Vivaldi, they will be much more familiar with a musical education in hardcore electronic dance music (EDM).

For these young people, this is “our music”, and overlooking this in school music lessons misses an opportunity to help these pupils engage with something they are already naturally interested in.

Hardcore electronic dance music has great potential for student engagement.


For a lot of these kids, they’ve grown up with this music – their aunties, brothers and friends are into it, too. And their parents were probably ravers in the heyday of “acid house” or the subsequent years when “happy hardcore” and other forms of harsh, repetitive EDM provided the soundtrack for the lives of countless young people.

School music lessons, however, very rarely even acknowledge the existence of such music within British culture. In many schools, coverage of dance music might stretch from the Galliard or the Pavan to Disco via the Viennese Waltz, but no further in most cases.

Modern music making

Serious engagement with rave and post-rave EDM in the classroom is rare in the extreme. Even your classic mainstream dance music seems to be way off the agenda in most schools.

This much was clear to me when I provided training on using DJ decks in music teaching for a group of Teach First trainee teachers back in 2013.

Teach First sees young graduates recruited into tough, under-performing, inner-city schools for their first teaching placements. And yet despite the strong prevalence of youth culture and niche music scenes in many of these cities – grime in London or bassline in Sheffield – none of these young teachers had seen such equipment used in the schools where they were on placements.

Bassline in Sheffield.


This was with one exception: one trainee admitted that his school had DJ decks but, disappointingly, he explained that they were never removed from the cupboard where they were gathering dust as “nobody knows what to do with them”.

Face the music

I, too, had little or no experience of using DJ decks when I became a secondary school music teacher in 2003. MC rapping was alien to me and I had never been much of an enthusiast of EDM.

But because of the inner-city character of the North East of England school I was working in, I soon realised that a large minority of the learners were passionate about a form of happy hardcore EDM known as “makina”. This is a sub genre of hardcore techno – which originates in Spain. It is similar to UK hardcore, and it includes elements of bouncy techno and hardtrance.

The bulk of the pupils that were into this type of music at my school were considered to be some of the most disaffected and “at risk” learners. But I actually learned much of what I now know about DJing and MCing from these young people.

A makina rave in Newcastle.
Monta Musica Facebook


I also made a little effort to learn from expert local DJs and MCs about this form of music-making and the attendant skills so that I could give it coverage in my lessons.

I have seen first hand the transformative effect the use of DJing and MCing in the classroom can have upon learners. And yet the creative use of DJ decks coupled with MC rapping – an international musical tradition for around 40 years – is barely recognised as a musical discipline even in many of the inner-city schools.

Conversations with the large US provider of music education Little Kids Rock have indicated that a similar situation pertains across the US.

Lost in music

While this kind of music gets some coverage in pupil referral units and youth clubs, and some schools employ visiting specialists for extra-curricular learning, it is extremely rare to find it employed in mainstream classrooms for everyday lessons with the regular music teacher. But given the availability of more affordable technology such as “DJ controllers” and CD decks, this situation may hopefully begin to improve.

Making our classrooms relevant to students is vitally important, because if
school feels culturally alien and alienating – as indeed it does for a significant minority of typically inner-city youth – then as educators we are leaving behind a whole group of keen and passionate music lovers.

Engaging pupils with music they know and love is one way to make school feel more familiar and more welcoming. And it could even help to change a few stereotypes about what “types of people” listen to “what types of music” in the process.

Pete Dale, Senior Lecturer in Popular Music, Manchester Metropolitan University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.