This beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon, I set up Barefoot Sound Kitchen – street kitchen edition, at a place, that could best be described as the bedrock of consumerism in Denmark: The King’s Square, Kongens Nytorv. A place where 95% of the passers-by will have at least one plastic bag with a new pair of shoes, a new shirt or a new dress attached to their arms.
Are these people willing to play? “Can you help us?”, I asked. Most of the – seeing our setup with microphones etc., reacted by taking a hard look on the pavement and hurrying on, with a short remark about being busy. Still, there were a few who were open to be lured into the game. And others who spontaneously threw themselves into the game.
I invited Henrik, a little elderly gentleman to participate. He didn’t consider this to be anything he needed to take part in. He was 90 (!) years old. I would have taken him to be 70. He said he had experienced World War 2. I asked him how that was. He said that he had escaped to Sweden. And had started a brigade. What brigade? I didn’t quite get that. Anyway. Although shy he didn’t shy away from giving a perfectly in tune rendering of “Jeg elsker de grønne lunde”, and old Danish song, through the means of a microphone that converted his thin voice into a fat double bas sound.
Then there was Simon, who took the stage with a storm. He was one of those guys who sell a street paper “Hus Forbi”, a free spirit, enjoying a smoke and a beer (probably not the first, that day). He gave it all he got and tried out all instruments, improvising, singing, yelling, inviting anyone to join us. He said he was crazy about Barefoot Sound Kitchen, and sustained a theory that it would be very popular at parties, and at the pubs. He even thought I could make a lot of money on it. It eas definitely better than karaoke. I said something along the lines that this was an art project ant blabla. Well then make the money on renting out this setup and make your art on the side. You gotta make a living somehow. These were very intelligent words from someone living in the street, and it actually made a lot of sense. Drunk people in general are more willing to play. And Barefoot Sound Kitchen is a fun toy – besides being an art project. What’s the big deal? Who the h.. cares?
I asked about his history, and he told me he had been a fisherman for a number of years. He had been hit by a car. And was unable to work. He had been receiving “help” from welfare, but this had been only humiliating and he had ended up struggling with fits of anxiety. Now he had dropped out of everything. Didn’t get a penny from welfare. No more anxiety, Simon was now a free bird of the streets (as we say in Danish).
Then there were two boys coming by. One of the wanted to do some rapping:
Three hours in the sunny weather with microphones, and the sounds of piano, drums, saxophone, trumpet and Double bass. Eight to twelve people having taken part in the improvisations, playing with sounds, and maybe working with some of their inhibitions. Maybe some new images that might slip through in their dreams.
There was a lady saying: “This looks so simple, but having to actually use your voice in these microphones it made my heart beat double as fast!”. I guess we all have had this dream: You are standing on a stage, and you are supposed to perform something, maybe a ballet, maybe a solo piano concert. And you are completely unprepared.
Barefoot Sound Kitchen Street Kitchen:
Four Saturdays in June 2015 at 2 – 5 pm on the streets and squares of Copenhagen
Barefoot Sound Kitchen has received funding from