Hum's the word.
Or at least it's the sound--for a portion of Saturday's Day of Music in Santa Barbara sponsored by the Society of Jazz and World Music. The hum comes courtesy of Los Angeles performance artist Bonnie Barnett.
Barnett is one of 30 acts making up the daylong music festival. While other groups will be focusing on jazz piano, Middle Eastern music, the accordion or the panpipes, Barnett specializes in the hum. A mass hum.
She'll be taking over the Presidio Chapel from 3 to 4 p.m. and is inviting anyone who can make a sound to join in the humming. Last year the group totaled about 75 hummers. This will be her 40th organized hum.
"No one has to know how to sing or what a note is," she said. "Once everybody gets going it's kind of like every person for themselves. I ask people to kind of get on automatic pilot, not to worry, 'Oh God, what note do I do next.' "
Barnett expects about 75 people to show up for the hum. She and four musicians will get the ensemble going by playing and singing a chord. Within 10 or 15 minutes, she said, it should be "like a sound bath" washing over each participant.
"By and large people really get into it," she said. "I'm really committed to making everybody feel safe. It can be a very vulnerable activity if you're not used to it."
But have no fear, she said. "It's almost impossible to be in a room with 75 people singing and sing a wrong note. We almost gravitate to something that fits in."
For those who can't make it to this year's hum, take heart in Barnett's philosophy: "I figure after 40 times there will always be another hum."
Others on the Day of Music schedule include Vern Martin and the Young Giants of Jazz, the Zephir Wind Quintet, Headless Household (new music), the UC Santa Barbara Middle Eastern Ensemble and Huayrak Taki (pre-Columbian Peruvian pipes.)
Performances will be at six venues--the Santa Barbara Mission, the Faulkner Gallery, the courtyard at the Santa Barbara Public Library, Center Stage Theater, City Broiler and the Presidio Chapel. A single admission ticket is available for all venues for $4.99. For more information call 962-3575.
If sounds aren't your thing, how about sights? Pretty pastel sights.
More than 200 artists will put chalk to pavement throughout the Memorial Day weekend as part of the Santa Barbara Il Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival at the Mission piazza. It's an art that dates back to the 16th Century in Italy as a tribute to the Madonna.
This year's featured artists are a group of six architects, five of whom got an authentic taste of street art while studying in Italy. In getting back to the event's religious roots, they will reproduce Michelangelo's "Doni Tondo," a painting of Jesus, Joseph and Mary with the focus on Mary.
"And in the background there are some nude nymphs or something," said Tom Meaney, one of the architects. "It's an image that translates well to pastel, onto the surface. It's very bold graphically, the drapery in the robes are very crisp. It looks like a painting that a sculptor made."
Meaney figures the artwork will take 70 to 75 hours to complete, with the six painters taking turns working on it.
Painters paid between $75 and $450 to rent a piece of the piazza. Proceeds benefit the Children's Creative Project, a 17-year-old arts education program for children in elementary school. Admission is free. Call 569-3873.