Guitar Circle Of Italy Meeting With Zum

Friday 17 – Sunday 19, June 2005

Rolo, Italy


A report by Alessandro Bruno.

The meeting began on Friday evening at 10:30 with: Buddies Shinkuro, Luciano, Fumihito; Circle members Aldo, Roberto Du, Roberto De, Attilio, Filippo; “currently non-Circle” friends Fabio Mittino & Mr. Baldy. Sadly, the other Circle members, including leader Al, could not be with us.

We declared our aims for the week-end and began the guitar work after a short break. Blockhead was introduced first, then the Buddies asked us which pieces we thought we could handle for Sunday’s performance. Most of the ones we played for them were “in” for the gig, with a couple of exceptions. The evening was completed relatively early, before midnight, leaving room for personal practice “until 6:00 pm”.

Saturday: Sitting 7:30, breakfast 8:15, guided practice 9:00 with a strong warm-up leaded by Shinkuro, including a hot left hand exercise played at 96 bpm. A precise schedule is a normal feature at Spaghetti Circle meetings: what was new for us on this week-end was the strict observance of the schedule itself. If any work takes longer than scheduled, then you simply don’t take a break before the next work.

The bulk of the day’s work was small groups, each Zum passing their part to the people who was going to play it. We learned two Piazzolla pieces, Zum and Tango Apasionado, and refined the other pieces for the performance.

We also had Tai Chi in the property’s garden. At lunch, there was a comment by Mr. Baldy inspired by Tai Chi work, about the common goals that different disciplines share.

Silence at dinner: I was probably the last to notice it. The Italians have had quite a few strong silence experiences in this house, since we first met here in 2000. After dinner, we quickly checked the space that was supposed to host the performance. It was judged not quite right: plenty of mosquitoes, and something between us and the audience that wasn’t, but looked like, unko. We decided the performance would take place in the same room where we have meals.

In the evening we simulated a performance. Embarrassingly, this Circle members have yet to learn to be present during performances: we still underline mistakes with facial expressions, act as audients when we are not playing, and I was chewing a gum! The day was completed just after midnight.

Sunday: Sitting 7:30, breakfast 8:15, guided practice 9:00, same kind of warm-up as the day before. The morning was assigned to personal-small groups practice (“Don’t burn the pieces!”), and personal meetings with Zum. We also arranged the room for the performance.

The performance was scheduled for 15:00. Just after lunch and dish-washing, we met in the ballroom – green room for tuning and quiet time. The performance was slipped half an hour, to wait for the whole audience to arrive. Some were waiting in the formerly announced space.

ITALIAN ZUM Performance: Zum

Eye Of The Needle
Lo Que Vendra (Zum)
Circulation D major (with thumb)
Km 11 (Zum)
Third Relation
Tango Apasionado
(speech I by Robertiño)
Askesis gamelan
Teddy Bear (Zum)
Blackbird (Zum)
(speech II by Robertiño)
The Whip (Zum)

The place was small but effectively arranged, so everybody found his place. Players and audience were very tight, and the temperature was extremely high. The audience was very kind and supportive, and included children, prog-rock fans, girls and Rolo’s mayor (who happens to be Aldo’s wife). The Circle was honourable, although Eye Of The Needle had some monstrous mistakes in it. I counted “Third Relation” too fast, but we managed to speed it up even more. Circulating worked beautifully. Blockhead’s Gran Finale rocked. Zum played a stunning version of The Whip. Warm applauses.

We returned upstairs to the ballroom, recognized the completion of the performance (no encores), and then we stayed outside the building with the audience for quite a long while. Zum sold and signed CD’s, and something to drink was offered. A very nice atmosphere. Someone asked us to play there again soon.

Final meeting at 5:00 pm, comments about the week-end. Packing, cleaning up personal spaces and re-arranging the house. By about 18:20 everyone left.