Sunday mornings have always been set aside for church, even for the people who organize and coordinate Chatter Sundays, the music-and-arts series that began as the Church of Beethoven. Started in February of 2008, this weekly event has become a staple of Albuquerque culture, a lively soiree that brings together artists of all stripes who perform and converse with one another. On Sept. 29, Chatter Sunday is a spirited mix of voice and body, a poet conveying meaning through what's being said and a musician providing soundscapes to get lost in.
That Sunday, folks will be shaken by the poetic mantras of Logan “Dirtyverbs” Phillips and bask in the sweet Brazilian melodies of noted pianist Fred Sturm, both of whom have performed at Chatter Sunday before. Maybe there's a certain mysticism of a group of people connecting over art and an espresso that draws people back into its sphere.
“I played at Chatter a couple years ago,” Fred Sturm said. “It is an informal setting, quite different from the standard concert hall atmosphere, but the audiences are always appreciative and attentive. There is a good bond between performer and audience that adds up to a good experience for all.”
Sturm, who is also a piano technician, specializes in Latin American compositions, mainly those by the likes of composers Heitor Villa-Lobos from Brazil and Frederico Ibarra from Mexico. In these compositions, he finds what he calls a “rhythmic vitality” that's not reflected outside Latin America. That vitality can be heard in any of the five albums he's released.
The poetry of Logan “Dirtyverbs” Phillips speaks of education, struggle and a writer's will to break boundaries through enlightened expression. Phillips, who was born in Tombstone, Ariz., travels the world performing poetry and spreading his transdisciplinary art, relating poetry through words and improvised video projections. This will be Phillips' third time back at Chatter Sunday.
Within the Kosmos, artists can bask in the comfort of knowing it's an experience that can't be replicated.
“Reading the room is important, and getting a feel for the context is important,” Phillips said. “Most of the time, I try not to worry about it too much ahead of time because a great performance happens in the moment.”
Audiences who've not partaken in Chatter Sunday can look forward to a room full of people interested in supporting art and beauty. There's even a moment of silence between the poetry and the music as a sign of respect and a moment of reflection. And the fact that artists not only revisit this particular setting, but also provide new and innovative work there, speaks boldly about the level of commitment between this moment in time and the people who share it.
“At this point, the series is 'old and established,' but it remains fresh and new, quite an accomplishment,” Sturm said. “When everything is well aligned, magic can happen, a truly remarkable shared experience for performer and audience. Those special moments are hard to beat in any other type of experience.”