While still a student, Evelyn Glennie learned that she was going deaf. Rather than abandon her study of music, in which she had shown such talent, she instead turned her focus toward percussion instruments and developed her ability to feel the sound through her body. This documentary follows her as she performs in New York, Germany and Tokyo, sharing her insights into the nature of music and the ways in which we experience it.Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
At the end of the day we still know that within everything we see, there's sound. I mean, we know that. We just don't have that sensitivity to hear what is going on around us.
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"Touch the Sound" is beautiful in the same way the wind-drifting plastic bag of "American Beauty" is beautiful. It is simple and profound, and even though it is right in front of us, we somehow cannot manage to see it. This movie is an experience, not in the sense of a journey, but rather, something you must feel in order to connect with. Movies like this keep us in touch.
Everything has sound, and thus for Evelyn, everything is an instrument. No exceptions. Cans, bottles, rope, sections of aluminum, a snare drum, the sidewalk everything. Maybe the only thing more impressive than her actual musical abilities is the open-mindedness of the people who watch her play these obscure instruments. The film takes us from Japan to New York to England to Santa Cruz, where we find a diverse group of cultures united by music. Or maybe it is something deeper than that.
"We need to eat, we need to sleep, and we need music." This is Evelyn's philosophy, one which she most certainly lives by. Evelyn is a woman who plays her percussion instruments barefooted in order to feel the vibrations they cast, so it is no stretch to say she quiet literally has a feel for what she is doing. She is a wonderful musician, who makes such a connection with her music that it is as if the music is not being heard through her ear, but rather resounding throughout her body.
The most engaging moments in the film are found through the improvisations performed by Evelyn and fellow musician Fred Firth, who she has never met before. They create the soundtrack of the film through their willingness to experiment and explore with any and every combination of variances on traditional guitars and percussion instruments.
Although I very much enjoyed the film, I did find that there were a few too many visual "sounds" where as a viewer I found the underlying message to be too apparent. Nevertheless, "Touch the Sound" is worth a watch, even if you are not a musician; its is simple, enjoyable and leaves us with a sense of inner harmony.
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