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I Screamed .... DANIEL!!!

by Daniel Bernard Roumain | Mar 29, 2013 11:12 am

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Posted to: Arts & Culture, Music

Celebrated hip-hop voodoo violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain‘s 20-day New Haven residency (hosted by the New Haven Symphony Orchestra) took him to UNH and a Seymour middle school this week. He tells us about it in the latest installment of a diary he’s keeping for the Independent. (Previous installments here and here.)

Contributed Photos an orchestra of life

We played our first Young People’s Concert this week at Seymour Middle School

Hundreds of young people wanting to hear something old, new

I played, first, as DBR

Then, I introduced my friends, as the NHSO

We all have a name, and I told them I would never ask them to do something I wouldn’t do myself

What better way to establish trust?

So then, at the top of my lungs, I screamed my name….

DANIEL!!!

I asked the orchestra to do the same

I asked our young guests to then shout their name with us

And in this, we instantly became an orchestra of life

After this, it was easy to introduce my other friends

Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms

And the wonderful Cuban-born composer and conductor, Tania Leon

Our guests loved it all, and shouted for more

So we gave them my Voodoo Violin Concerto

Towards the end, I told them you should always have a question; you should always have a comment

They wanted to hear more

They wanted to hear the theme from Star Wars

This from a young, excited boy born in 2001!

I asked him to tell me who composed that work

He replied he didn’t know

So, I told him to Google-search the composer of that work

And come to Woolsey Hall for more…with his parents.

It was a great day.


a framer of ideas

I was invited to give a lecture at the University of New Haven

I plugged-in my laptop, but first, pulled-out my violin

And played the room

I walked all around them

Playing and talking and singing and story-telling

I told them I was a composer and that to me that meant I frame ideas and present them

That’s it

That for me, that is the essence of what I do

So I took them on my journey

Sharing my website, scores, and sound files

Challenging them to question everything I said

And inviting them to ask questions, comments, and to take a stance

I even invited one of them up to play my violin

She had never played before

And she did—-quite well

In that moment, she may not have realized how much I was learning from her

From her courage and her compassion and her willingness to dare herself

And in doing so, inspiring others, and all of us

People came and went

I suppose they all got what they wanted or needed

I did.

We are an orchestra of life

We care about our community

We love our children

They are our kids, too

We play with our whole bodies for them

We just don’t say our name; we declare it!

We will never ask an audience to do something we wouldn’t do ourselves

We provide musical, and magical, moments

We work hard to get it all right

We give and always receive

We want to be heard so that others will, too

Our stage may be the last bastion of democracy, were all voices are heard, and differences are celebrated

We play to make and move and reveal and rejoice and express and extoll and heal and hope

We are the sound of being alive

We are an orchestra of life.

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