Music Mondays: ¿Masterclass or PR Stunt?


On September 12, I had the chance to attend to a very special masterclass dictated by our Jorge Glen. Yes, the guy you saw palings the Venezuelan Cuatro in the video.

This was a thrilling ocasion for our city since Jorge doesn't live here. He moved to New York years ago and he's been doing amazing things with that instrument. What kind of amazing things? Well, to make the list short, I'll mention two. First he was part of the show in the Hollywood Bowl alongside Gustavo Dudamel (another Venezuelan). Second, he recently pskyed at Carnegie Hall and has a photo with Anne Hathaway. That's a long was from four little and sad city by coast.


This was my view. There were a lot of musicians present. Some if then traveled from the other coast.

The idea of this class was to inspire younger musicians and maybe have then learn something.

My goal during this class was maybe get him to play one of my instruments. However, the week prior to the event, my teacher, Jorge's godfather warned about the amount of people that would be attending. And without getting too crazy, the number of musicians in the class was around 250. I think it was more than that. And we were cramped up in a small place at Guaqueri Park.

The park was in awful conditions. Nowadays, it looks more like a swamp than a park. It rained that day. And I achieve my mission. I was there at the back of the rows and could only attend to the class until 6:00 p.m. Another important thing is that the park has no illumination whatsoever. I was over encumbered that day, so I wasn't going to risk my luck.

The Masterclass itself

The camas started with the song you heard in the video. It is a composition of Jorge, a joropo known as "El Pez Volador" (an homage to the flying fish we could see in other times flying near the coast of Cumaná). The lesson went on going through some basic knowledge of the instrument. The ins and outs of melody and harmony. But then it transformed into a concert. The reason if this is simple. All levels of students were present in the class. We mjgbt as well have been there without any instrument as the playing we did was so little. The guy is an excellent musician. But the organisation of the whole event was weird.

However, when I mentioned this to a friend the Saturday of that week, she told me fair and square that the idea wasn't the class per se. She catalogued the thing as a PR Stunt. And I see the gist of it. He got some publicity of good cause behind him. The private sector businesses did too. And this served no actual purpose.

A lot of us left the place astonished by Jorge' skills, but that's something you can also do by watching him play on YouTube. Though I have to admit that watch him create a whole set of music with just a Venezuela Cuatro and a looper is some amazing thing. It's way better live! And sorry no video, I was too busy being amazed at the fact that one person can create a while Salsa percussion orchestra with just one instrument. And that's the tip of the iceberg!

A Saving grace

I wouldn't throw all the idea into publicity. The guy doesn't need it. Maybe the stunt was pulled off by lther people trying to use his fame to capitalize on something. But Jorge came with an interesting message to all musicians present. It was simple, yet beautiful. To paraphrased it went something like this:

Music is not a race. Each time we see someone in trouble, we ought to ho that person without judging them not mocking them. As musicians, we all add to the art. And when we help others, we add even more to it. Those who receive ho today, will multiply this. Just imagine how further we might get of we helped each other to be their best instead of focusing on our own selfishness.

The message wasn't that long, but that's all what it encompassed.

In the end, it was a weird day. I went back home thinking about how I brought too many things with me for nothing. The message makes it worth it. That and the juice box they gave me as part of the refreshments for the attendees.

Some friends were joking about what we had learned. I published a cover that week, I think. They were joking about how my playing got better just from going to the Masterclass. I guess the jokes about it make it worth my while too.

But the funniest joke was the people form El Sistema tried to make it look like they were in charge of the while event while it was clear they had nothing to do with none of it. That's a classic move of anything related with the government.

What do you think about it?

Cover Gif made with Canva

Video and photo taken with my Redmi note 8 smartphone.

Logo grabado en madera.jpg

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