A new mini-concert series has recently made its way to University of California, Santa Barbara, and it has unearthed a multitude of sounds. The innovative project, UCSB Amplified, serves as an opportunity for the campus community to showcase their diverse musical talents through a series of live recorded performances.
Coordinator Jessica Fenton explained that the idea first came up last quarter during a meeting with Public Affairs and Communications, where there was a discussion about a small live music series like Tiny Desk Concert, produced by NPR.
“We wanted to start something similar at UC Santa Barbara to showcase the strength of our Music Department and the creativity of our music community.”
With the program now up and running, Fenton and her crew have successfully created a space in which students, staff, faculty, and even Gaucho alumni can expose the beauty of their talents within a small, intimate setting.
“What you see on UCSB Amplified is raw, bare bones talent,” said Fenton, “We want to provide back stage access to these amazing performances.”
As of now, each session takes place at Geiringer Hall in the Music Department, where performers are given approximately 30 minutes to set up, get everything ready, and give it all they’ve got.
In the future, Fenton and her team hope to record the sessions outside, so people can attend and watch it all happen in person because, as she says, “nothing beats a live audience.”
The series released their first video on Monday, April 6, and will be releasing a new set each week.
Jeremy Ferrara, a fourth-year physics major, recently played a set with his musical partner, fourth-year environmental studies major Erisy Watt. In the time they were given, the two managed to play four lovely songs with a mellow folk-rock sound.
“It was really fun,” said Ferrara, “with all the cameras and the dim lights it felt exciting and special.”
Ferrara also said, “The music scene in Isla Vista is definitely on the up swing right now with bands and artists sprouting up all the time,” he says, “and UCSB Amplified is just one more sweet opportunity for local musicians to have a spotlight.”
As promised, this week features a new artist, Azeem Ward. The fourth-year music major, who has been playing the flute for 11 years, will showcase a serial piece of classical music.
“This piece is different,” said Ward about his genre. “There’s not really a sense of structure. It’s more spontaneous, sporadic, and expressionistic.”
For this reason, Ward said he really enjoyed his experience with UCSB Amplified, because it is a great way for musicians to get exposed to many different types of music.
“It was cool,” he says. “The only thing I was nervous about was how people would accept the way this music sounds, because it’s not really showcased.”
This goes along with what Fenton says is one of UCSB Amplified’s goals. “Through the live-recorded Gaucho music series, we endeavor to support all forms of music, invest in artists present on campus, and proper our artistic culture.”
The creation of this artistic program has successfully led to the exposure of a variety of local talents. With the help of Professor Jill Felber and the Music Department, Fenton and everyone else involved have layed the foundation for a program that can only grow.
Full-length videos of each session and more information about how to be featured can be found at http://ucsbamplified.tumblr.com .