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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Jennifer Barish at 10:42PM
a photo of Jennifer Barish

Blog posting written by Jennifer Barish, Communication Management & Design ‘14, FLEFF intern, Skokie, IL

Many of my friends who study flute, guitar, or bassoon at Ithaca College usually laugh at my ignorance of quarter notes and half notes. I don’t know music. But I certainly can feel it.

During last Sunday’s showing of OKA! at Cinemopolis, the room was full, colorful, and boisterous. Director Lavinia Currier stood before the diverse crowd of professors, students, and native Ithacans alike--eloquently introducing her film and its components of magical realism.

I ate my popcorn far too fast, and then wondered how Ms.Currier could tie together magical realism, Africa, and an ethnomusicologist from New Jersey in the next two hours.

It was the music that tied it all together. I had no prior knowledge of Central African culture, ethnomusicology, or the dangers of living in the BaAka people’s dense forest. But there was something familiar about the melodic female chants and the textured sounds of the Pygmies.

My mind instantly brought me to a sweaty park in Chicago as I heard tUnE-YarDs' front woman, Merill Garbus, sing a soulful performance at the Pitchfork Music Festival. I couldn’t help but hear the similarities between OKA!’s Pygmy music and Garbus’ vocal rifts throughout her newest album. Through my love for the tUnE-YarDs’ sound, I felt instantly connected to this foreign and mildly intimidating film. When I did a quick Google search after the showing, I discovered that Merrill’s experiences in Africa influenced her unique, musical style.

When I got home, I instantly turned on “Bizness” and danced before starting my Sunday homework.

This connection is messy. But I think that’s what FLEFF is supposed to do—mess everything up, take your mind to other experiences with art across the country, and make you dance unabashedly in your dorm room.

I'll leave these two pieces of music here for you all to make equally convoluted connections.

Where does the music take you?




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