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Her Lovely Awkward Synth

Dreamed 2009/3/9 by Wayan; Dreamverse #43


I'm in Yoshi's, a big jazz club on the Oakland waterfront. Samora and Elena Pinderhughes, brother and sister child prodigies, are playing tonight. Jaz Sawyer's on drums, Marcus Shelby on bass, Geechee Taylor on trumpet. Elena sings as well as plays flute--a surprise, a pleasant one.

They've got a full house, 300 or so. And they're selling CDs. Of course, they have parents who support them, friends, a community, and a public school well known for its strong music program. Not to detract from their talent, but getting it out there... well, Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers) is right. Success takes more than talent and 10,000 hours of practice: it takes mentors and community support.


Elena shows me her studio. "Flute no more!
I'm a singer-songwriter now." She composes on
a keyboard rich and strange. Glossy chopsticks fan
in irregular scallop scoops. The board's one broad
rainbow-smear. How dumb! Each octave ought to be
a recurring color-set.

Takes a keen eye to play. The bass is rose and blood,
salmon and orange--heavenly by day, but hell to tell
apart in stage-glare or dim club-light! The reds all fuse,
and yellows age to dirty white, and the blues bruise
to slate. The keyboard ignores speed & pressure too;
a flat blat's all you get.

And these cute keys are random widths--some so lean
that even a prodigy girl can't hit them clean!
Who built this gorgeous torture rack, a gamer,
sculptor, adman, madman? Says Elena:
"I love music, I practice, but haven't progressed.
Is it my synth?" I yell "Duh! Yes!"

Her brother has an acoustic grand, but she
felt it was too big for her yet. Absurd! I guess
it takes an outside observer to see
that not just original loveliness,
but full-size, responsive, regular keys
are the keys to success.

Jazz prodigy Elena Pinderhughes shows me her colorful but awkward keyboard; dream sketch by Wayan.

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