Why Germaine Liu Rules by Alexa Woloshyn (2016)

 In Why This Rules
Germaine Liu

Germaine Liu

In an alternate universe, I am a percussionist. All day I play my vibraphone, snare drum, and impressive collection of gongs. But these imaginings fail to match the creativity and openness of the sounds created by Germaine Liu.

This is why Germaine Liu rules.

She approaches an object almost child-like, with a sincere and endless fascination for the unusual sounds she finds there. But the results of her explorations also exhibit thoughtfulness and a deep, mature relationship with sound.

Take for example, the opening of “A Cymbal Speaks”: Germaine repeats a single gesture— bowing on the cymbal’s edge—with a variety of speed and weight. Through her hands and her patient exploration of this single gesture and a single object, my ears are opened up to a vast world of sonic possibilities.

When I saw Germaine perform recently, she leaned over her vibraphone in intense concentration, not because she was performing a flurry of notes. But because each element of the instrument had a story to tell. And Germaine used her hands, a bow, and mallet to explore each crevice. Flowing out of Germaine’s quietly intense demeanour, I felt a deep love for the sounds and the tools of their creation.

Germaine makes me fall in love with sound again and again. And she will make you wish you were a percussionist. Maybe you are one. After you watch her live, you’re likely to be inspired to pick up an object and start to explore.

Alexa Woloshyn is the Administrative Director of Silence.

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