Splash image for the website
If some of you hadn’t noticed, I’ve changed the look of the blog. This template is a bit cleaner and less distracting than the previous one, I think. I also spent most of last night completely overhauling my website. Though most of the content is previously existing content from the old website, the structure is newer and I think a bit more streamlined than the old one. I’ll be spending a lot of time over the next week or so re-doing content (especially the bio) but also making it easier for folks to know what services I offer for various function (both performative and educational).
What I’m especially looking forward to is highlighting my compositional activities more, as I am now getting much more work in that area. I’m also looking forward to showcasing some of my more academic and scholarly work – especially the slow development of a Klingon Music Theory which will be the basis for some of the new music I’ve been writing for various projects.
The side-column (where the current facebook like page is located) will eventually be used for more content rather than just the like page, but I have to sort out how to import/display content there. Any tips, suggestions, and/or complaints are very welcome!
Jon Silpayamanant as a Klingon performing before a production of The Pirates of Penzance (in Outer Space) in New Albany, Indiana.
So, as I mentioned in the previous post, there is an embarrassment of riches as far as performing options are concerned, if you’re willing to think outside the box. The past few years I’ve been playing the Sci-Fi/Fantasy circuit. I hesitate to call it the “Sci-Fi/Fantasy Convention circuit” if only because some of the best paying gigs I’ve gotten recently happen to be at organizations outside of the Convention circuit proper.
And some of that has started to creep into the so-called ‘high arts’ realm with organizations such as Symphony Orchestras playing themed shows dedicated to particular Sci-Fi or Fantasy franchises (e.g. Lord of the Rings, Star Wars) as part of their pops seasons.
On the whole, however, there’s always been music at conventions–even if it only consisted of filk music. Part of the Klingon schtick is as much act as play and the idea came to me as a whim after il Troubadore started playing Sci-Fi conventions at the request of some bellydancers. We decided we needed our own act and schtick, thus was born the il Troubadore Klingon Music Project.
Ok, so I talk about the short series of events from bellydancer request to Sci-Fi convention to developing a full blown Klingon Band personae as if it’s an everyday thing. But seriously, for me, it is.
That’s the specific issue at hand here. Over the years I’ve heard all manner of musicians grouse about the lousy economy and the lack of work. And here, I’m talking primarily about those musicians who do not hold full time or professional positions as musicians–this includes freelancers, but also just your normal everyday band musician. I know I’ve brought up this issue plenty of times in the past, but don’t want to flood this post with a ton of links.
Klingon Female Model from a Las Vegas Star Trek Exhibit
As I mentioned in my previous post, I was up all night finishing a Klingon costume. I’d been working on it intermittently for a few weeks now but needed to get the bulk of the work done by today. I haven’t posted much here about the il Troubadore Klingon Music Project as it’s still a work in progress, but it’s close enough to our first official event that I feel I can start to blog more about this.
We’d been playing Klingon songs since 2009 and began playing conventions with other tunes from popular Sci-Fi franchises (e.g. Star Wars, Dune) and thought “what they hey, let’s do a Klingon Ballet” since we often work with dancers.
So last winter we started developing the Klingon Music Project. As our mission statement says:
il Troubadore, known on the planet Qo’noS as bomwI’pu’ has been performing tlhIngan QoQ (Klingon music) live since 2009.
il Troubadore’s mission is to record and perform all existing songs in the complete musical oeuvre of the Klingon Empire. Everything from the grand ghe’naQ nIt to the vernacular may’ bom and HIvje’ bom will be able to be heard and appreciated by Terran audiences throughout the planet Earth.
So over the past few weeks we’ve all been working on Klingon costumes to go along with the music, and eventually the ballet, wa’SaD ram wa’ ram je, itself. As you can see from the transliterated Klingon title of the ballet now you know why I mentioned the search phrase “sad ram” that brought some poor unsuspecting soul to a blog post about the Klingon Ballet.
As it stands, there just aren’t enough fully fleshed out Klingon tunes from the various series and movies, so we’ve been writing and developing our own Klingon music. Here’s a tune I wrote and that we performed at ConNooga in Chattanooga, Tennessee in February of 2009.
So it looks like I might be giving a Xenomusic workshop for kids at ConGlomeration in Louisville next April.
“What is ‘Xenomusic’?” you might ask?
Well, basically, it would be the music of Alien races. Sometimes referred to as “Exomusic” or more plainly “Alien music” or “Extra-Terrestrial music”–it’s all the same, really.
Ultimately, the idea, which was suggested to me by an online friend and frequent Con-goer, is something that just appeals to me. One of the things I’ve missed (though at the time, I probably didn’t quite feel the same–heh) is working with kids. While I as at Gymboree Play and Music that was my primary role–a music teacher that is. But unlike most government sponsored music teachers (in the school systems) or private instructors (which function like tutors) I was actively involved in teaching groups of children between the ages of one to five.
Yeah, that’s right–between the ages of one to five! Just think about that for a second or two.
The idea, well, at least my conception of the idea (since I did sign a form stating I wouldn’t publicly discuss the actual methods or philosophy behind Gymboree’s programs–trade secrets, after all) is that children don’t have to be a certain age to start learning something about, well, any subject.
I’ve set up a Klingon Music Project page for il Troubadore at the following url:
It’s in the beginning stages for now but I will flesh it out as we get new content.