27, 28, 29, 30, 31 Of December 2006 - Ston Aera Music Stage... Count the steps, count the words, count your height within ten years, count the many beautiful things gathered for your grace, may I take pride in you...Low Bap Festival. Trying to find the thread of narrating the l0th Low Bap Festival which has just finished, I thought of paraphrasing some older lyrics. Besides, the festival is just like a child who also grows up within the low bap family trying his first steps on unknown pathways. That's the picture I have in mind for the festival, plus, all of us who participated in this last one from the 27th until the 31st of December are perceive it pretty much the same way. That is, with respect, tenderness, excitement and constant persistence regarding the meaning and the true essence of things. The date was, as always, fixed at the west of the city; at Ston Aera Music Stage. The programme of this year's festival was focused on the live sets and mainly on the talking with the people.
On the 27th of December, the first day of the festival, the people had been arriving since 18:00. A long and extensive review of the passing year was held as we discussed all the things done concerning the low bap discography, the live concerts taken place, the new projects set on action, the video projections during the concerts, not forgetting the various others low bap projects which took place without us being aware but interesting as well. Afterwards, the talking went on both about the 2007 planning and people's expectations from low bap in the future. A lot of interesting ideas were put down and in time we will realise which of them we finally managed to start up, according of course to our capabilities. In my opinion, the most important of all was that we talked. The chairs were orchestrated differently from the previous festivals, composing a circle where a cheerful, warm but also pointed feeling was dominated. Indeed, we lost sense of time because, by giving people who rap a well limit of speech is a risk for the hours passed by without noticing. Towards the end of our conversation, we analysed the idea behind the formation of No Sponsors Movement and explained the needs leading us to redefine once more our way of keeping active and alive.
Around 22:00 we listened to all the demo tracks which arrived at our office lately. Generally, we noticed much melody on the music productions, a huge improvement on sound quality and a good effort concerning the lyrics writing. (But we must also point out that a big deal of work needs to be done in order for the creators to set apart; a word for not resting ourselves.) Well done either way! That evening's live set began just before 23:00... Totem, Brak, Onaxis, Flaco, Poetic, Lektoras and Ramon besieged the microphones as Kerinos and Dj Moya behind the decks and consoles, along with the people gathered in front of the stage were in control of the live's rhythm. By the end of the live set, B.D.Foxmoor presented a dj set full of James Brown's songs in order to address a minimum tribute in the memory of this great musician and performer. As we all know, James Brown died two days before the beginning of the festival, thus, this dj set was scheduled as an extra...
Nevertheless, the selection of music was shockingly nice and all the things heard were reproduced by their originals, sealed records bought by B.D.Foxmoor almost two decades ago. A better occasion for removing the covers might not been found. The second day was my day! Dedicated to Sadahzinia...and as I remember very clearly all the events taken place, I presume that possibly I am not dead!! I explain myself. When the guys first announced to me that one day of the festival will be dedicated to me, I shivered I must say. I mean, despite that is a huge honour, after a second thinking it's also a little bit inconvenient. I don't believe I have grown up such as, neither I have expressed all my hidden potentials(!)...In any case, I agree on programming this day and the result proved that it was a good choice indeed. The evening unfolded very nicely adding that some things which took life there were never before presented at this particular music venue...Firstly, many little children were gathered around 6 pm, with a majority aged between 4 and 8 years. We had literally put up a curtain with tissue stars and a melancholic moon, a rather unravel-edged one. We disposed all the necessary audio effects, many colourful clothes spread across the floor instead of chairs, a lot of markers and papers and an almost appropriate lighting! And so we created, in front of the eyes of the parents and the rest, me, my partner Evi Stathakopoulou and the kids, an atmosphere which was totally different from the usual ones...We put on scene a dramatization of The Wizard of Fire fairy tale, and so we disguised ourselves laughing, painting and playing with the children. I don't know if everyone present enjoyed it as much as me and the kids did, but it was certainly one special experience at least as an act. After the end of the fairy tale, the chairs were placed once more so that all of us have a discussion about me. You can imagine their nerve! In the meantime, I was silenced in a corner, and so they started talking. B.D.Foxmoor was the coordinator. I am not evolving into further details...but I'll assume a serious air and I truly thank everyone who took part at this round table with their stories and words. Meanwhile, upon starting to like it and feel comfortable, we realised that the time for the live set had came. I performed for more than two and a half hours and I had a lovely time upon the scene as we all had become a big company... Just before the end of the live set I narrated a fairy tale via my microphone, do you remember it really??
Christiana, Vasiliki and Mirsini were responsible of the evening's closing as they presented a long-hour dj set with many favourite tracks. The 29th of December was entirely dedicated to B.D.Foxmoor. The activity of the day started around 7 pm and the people were augmented as time was going by...As expected, it was impossible for us to silence Michalis, although his speech was rather limited. We took charge of the rest. We mentioned a lot of stories concerning various incidents that had happened and we tried analysing his character and mainly his madness...Several things of substance were noted, either of a small or a bigger scale. All of them important nonetheless, in order for one to understand some perspectives or the history of a man from Perama who with very limited means decided to start up such a great musical and social movement like low bap. During that same afternoon, after talking, Michalis read us a fairy tale of his called Still, it has dawned, while several people from the audience gathered all their courage to tell us their lyrics through the microphone. It turned out to be something extremely bold whatsoever...After a while, the chairs were magically gone and B.D.Foxmoor took his place behind the machines and consoles. He presented the two fresh studio albums of Active Member which have already found the shortest way towards our heart. Therefore, No Wind and Deep Shadowed were performed live on stage along with everyone participating. Jamoan who during the previous days was helping with the sound also got on stage but just then one speaker was burnt out! What a coincidence!...The people had become a huge hug and were singing till the early hours. At the same time, many older songs were heard as well, which were perfectly fitting at those dark hours where even the most solid and impenetrable piece of our self has fell off absorbing every verse and every note. Who has lived this feeling within low bap and left it behind him? And how really? I don't even want to know anymore...
During the fourth day of the festival, on the 30th of December, we started talking around 7 pm about Active Member. The people were packed on the chairs and behind the benches with the eyes bright, glowing at the dim light and the ears wide opened. I had a strong feeling that everyone present would like to talk and say even one thing about Active Member. But of course they didn't do it...Definitely, it isn't so simple as that. You always feel that what you may say isn't exactly the right one or is pretty much a wrong one...And so what? What is the big deal? I wanted to hear everyone speaking. But...I so propose them to send something via email or by letter or by even hand to hand a story they remember, an event or a little something...At any rate, during that afternoon we talked about the discography course of the group and commented each record album separately. Moreover, we described some incidents taken place and we made some notices about specific songs. There were people in there who follow the group since its first steps as well as people who were aware of it by listening to its last album...There is an evolution of the situation with new roads opened ahead and, in general, the conclusion was one and only. It self shined, without doubting, without second or third opinions. It stood alone in front of our eyes, this simple and evident conclusion: The things must be done with the people who are present. Otherwise, nothing has logic nor meaning and substance. The conversation ended while the chairs moved over for the people to fill Ston Aera music stage up until the area of the bar. Furthermore, Lektoras had prepared a mixtape including many songs, the so-called ''wrongly left-outs'' which we rarely perform during a live set, and we heard it before the start...And then, a live set began, blasphemous, crazy and weird at the same time, carrying over the voices of all those who were singing with their fists raised up. For all those which we will meet during the new year as well as for those lonely ones which each one treasures inside him as meanings. Various songs spanning through all Active Member discography were heard during our four and a half-hour show...Actually, we have songs to perform for four and a half days nonstop, but our strength was to phase out gradually. The photographs taken during the Active Member live sets always lie as something essential is permanently missing. There are so many things evolving around us. Either way, they work just fine at nostalgic moments where we need to remember and reminisce...That night's sleep (actually morning hours) didn't easily come. The buzz of the songs and the doings of all the friends we changed glances with during the live set were enough to keep us awake for a long time.
The next day, on the 31st of December, it was the closing of the 10th Low Bap Festival. The last day and additionally a New Year's Eve. Some people came with their wives and children while someone else with his parents. Or along with their husbands and children...Beautiful bustle! Couples with hot, homemade alcohol drinks and fresh wines brought directly from their island, were arriving. Everybody with a smile engraved upon their face and an open hug for all. Everyone with a great pride of being there on that specific day... Thus, everyone who struggles with the microphone was getting on stage presenting their programme, by the end of which someone else was standing behind the decks performing a different dj set each time. Before and after midnight, that is, last year and this year(!), Antiterra, Parakseni Taksidiotes, Pandomima, Lost Dreams from Syros island, Anorthographi piites, Fab 888, Parakmi from Giannena, Terza Rima, Stichoplokes, Flaco (but of course - in a new, complete edition as well!), B.D.Foxmoor and myself entered the scene. Indeed, they even voted in no time (kind of suspicious thing!) and they randomly announced that Sadahzinia must inaugurate the new year...Apart from joking, it's a fact nevertheless, that we are used to operate with such democratic procedures within our situation(!) Therefore, for the record I am telling you that the countdown began from 15 (as we are doing everything reversed, we couldn't miss that!) And we were lucky for not being overwhelmed by the music and live sets and so we welcome the new year on 12:20! It's worth mentioning the guys who were playing music between the live sets. Each one with his records on hand presented a unit of songs deeply characterised by his own style and way of mixing. Brak was the very first executing his set, followed among others by Kerinos and Moya as well as by Totem, Ramon and B.D.Foxmoor who were the last ones performing during 2006. I picked out the dj set of Ponte from Thebes who was mixing the tracks in a genius way and an amazing one by Theofilos Petsas (the other Rasta guy in the place) who presented some originals and rare ''gems'' of soul music and other music genres, from which well-known hip hop tracks were sampled or they even opened the road and way for hip hop...May all of them be good, as they were constantly loading us to continue dancing, singing and having a beautiful time during the first hours of the new year. When tiredness started bending our endurance, we decided to cut the ''vasilopita''! Actually, the two cakes of vasilopita as we didn't make it this year to bake a bigger one...The pieces were distributed, one for each group and subsequently a piece for each person lasted staying with us at the place till morning...(It was 6:30 in the morning!)
To sum up: There were two winning coins in the first cake. (We didn't do it on purpose this time, reversing the customs. It just happened.) And it worked! The first winning coin of the first vasilopita was found by Sadahzinia (myself that is, and I had trouble believing it as I am traditionally a very unlucky person) and the second one went to Flaco (at whom we wish wholeheartedly to be well in his health after the trouble he faced during 2006) who deserved it more than anybody else this year. Manolis of Pandomima discovered just before swallowing it the winning coin of the second vasilopita. Although he hails from Chios island, and as the proverb says ''the people from Chios go in couple'', he shared it with nobody. He kept it whole and full-lucky for the new year! After eating all the cake, we packed the machines, the consoles and the backdrops and all the people present till that time gathered up for one last picture... The clock was ticking at 8:10 am...Not bad.
Outside the place we were loading staff, saying goodbye to each other and we didn't even have the strength to think. However, the 10th Low Bap Festival was over and we are already a less than a year closer to the next one. We had an incredible time and we often considered all the people in distance who couldn't in any case be here...May you be good wherever you are. May we have a nice year, full of memory and care for the beautiful and may everyone offer the best of his in that we call Low Bap. The magic is found always at the end. PS. Photographs taken by: Kelly, Vavilonios, Sadahzinia, Lektoras.