Between many trips to the BBC and CNN I’ve been checking in often over the past few days with Kerblog, a site by Lebanese improv trumpeter Mazen Kerbaj. Truth be told I’d never heard of Kerbaj or his music until I recently received a link to his site where he has been chronicling the events of the past week via some amazing drawings and more recently with written commentary.
While any description of events in Lebanon and Israel will be inherently political what struck me about the site was the very humanistic portrayal of daily life amid the chaos: the tension during the long pauses between bombings, the lack of sleep, the compulsion to watch sponge bob when you are unable to wander outdoors and also the desire to make music as a way of coping. He gets drunk, the milk in his fridge is going bad… Somehow the guys is able to have a sense of humor about the whole thing. At one point he writes:
"music and drawing are the only things keeping me going these days. i recorded two hours of bombs + trumpet from my balcony yesterday night. some bombs were really close (what kind of mouthpiece do the israeli pilots use to have this sound?). the tension you get in your playing is incredible… …but having regards for what is a good drawing or a good music track drives me crazy. i cannot stop saying after a bomb: "yeah, this one was huge. i'll leave a long silence then make a small sound to balance the track. this is totally crazy!"
You can hear Kerbaj’s music on his main site (http://kerbaj.com/) but he has also sent over an mp3 of his 6:30 minute piece (edited down from a 40 minute piece) consisting of trumpet, bombs and a healthy dose of silence. You can listen to it here.
On a final note: it goes without say that people on both sides of the fence are not enjoying themselves much these days. I feel ridiculous having to spell this out but for those who might be inclined to read any sort of political message between the lines of this post: there isn’t any.