In this episode Ciyadh talks about the organization she founded and directs, the Margins Guitar Collective, what they do and how you can get involved.
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Cogitating about the Margins Guitar Collective
[00:00:00] Hello, everyone. Welcome to this episode of musically cogitating, a podcast about the relevance and important of living and contemporary music of all kinds and how that music impacts our everyday lives. I am your host Ciyadh Wells. And of course, thank you so much for joining me here for yet. A another episode of my favorite podcasts. And if you are enjoying the show, please subscribe on your favorite podcast player of choice and share it with a friend as always any important and relevant [00:01:00] links that I mentioned throughout the show will be linked in the show notes and on the podcast player of choice that you're using. And of course, on the musically cogitating website.
[00:01:14] So in today's episode, I'm going to talk to you about my organization, the Margins Guitar collective. I speak about it often, and I get lots of questions about what the collective is, what it does, who it serves. And so today I wanted to tell you more about it and maybe see if you are interested in getting involved and supporting the organization if you would like.
[00:01:41]So, what is the margins guitar collective? Well, it's an organization that I founded in 2018. So I guess almost three years ago, because I began to notice and feel a lack of inclusivity [00:02:00] and I began to see less diversity in the guitar community broadly. So yes, there are and is lots of representation or more representation in the pop contemporary music side of guitar playing, but in the classical guitar community, I see very little still.
[00:02:20] And so I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to create space and opportunity for inclusivity and for diversity. And again, I say this all the time. I have yet to attend a concert, featuring someone who looks like me. So I'm, I'm a black woman and I have yet to attend a concert from a classical guitarist who looks like me.
[00:02:45] And I think that matters. And I, I want to change that because I don't think that that's right. And I don't think that that's fair. And I also didn't find a lot of other people to be working towards [00:03:00] diversity and inclusion in the guitar community, especially in 2018. And so I wanted to do something about it.
[00:03:06] And so simply put the mission of the margins guitar collective is to support the creation of a diverse and inclusive artistic community focused around the guitar. An we all know that the guitar is amazing. I mean, if you're listening to this, I'm sure you've heard me talk ad nauseum about how much I love the guitar and why the guitar is the best instrument out there.
[00:03:31] And so this community is for that. It is focused around the guitar. It is for you. It is for everybody. And that's what it does. I had been thinking about starting something like this for a few years before I eventually got around to making it more official. So I would say it was probably the beginning of my master's and middle so 2016, 2017. And I will say that a lot of my ideas [00:04:00] start on sticky notes and on whiteboards. And so I had this big kind of like mind map of what I wanted to do for, with this organization, but I couldn't think of a name, so I didn't act on it for, I would say like probably six months, like people would come into the apartment that I was living at the time and they would see this big white board that wouldn't hang on the wall.
[00:04:26] So it was just like leaned up against the wall. And it just had this mind map of like guitar diversity and inclusion, you know, whatever else. And I just like, could not think of a name, but I knew that, you know, it would be focused on people and it would be focused on art and it would be focused on, you know, those who have been most marginalized.
[00:04:48] And so one day it just kind of like came to me. It hit me. Yeah, out of nowhere and I was like Margins Guitar Collective. And so that's the name that I [00:05:00] gave it and I wanted to. In a lot of ways, reclaim the term or idea of marginalization, um, which is often the word marginalized or marginalization, um, is used to describe people who are often ignored or pushed to the margins, the outside of society often because of their identities, they don't fit or belong to the societal norms.
[00:05:26] So I said to myself, okay, If society is going to marginalize us, us, meaning Black people, queer people, um, you know, other people of color, neurodiverse people. Then we're going to make a space for ourselves and support ourselves and make our own community, community. Can you, so it was collective is for everyone.
[00:05:50] And we will continue to prioritize voices of those who have most often been marginalized by society. [00:06:00]
[00:06:01]So what is the difference between, you know, the Martin guitar collective and to get to our society or any other artists collective and. Or society and this organization, and I want to start by saying, you know, that guitar societies are great. I work for guitar society in my job job, and it is fantastic.
[00:06:23] And I love it. And I think that guitar societies are essential and important. Uh, but I wanted to create something that was beyond the scope of what. A lot of guitar societies have become, they've become, uh, arts presenters and, um, Education organizations, which again are desperately needed, but I don't see, you know, the margin guitar collective being an organization that squarely focused on education.
[00:06:57] I think our, our service, [00:07:00] what we do for the world is through the art and it is focused on the art and the people who create the art and the people who are uh, most impacted by the art. And so that's why I decided to go in the direction of an artist collective and not a guitar society, and also a guitar societies often serve one location and are based in one place. And I think there are strengths to that. And I think the strengths of the Margie tar collective is that we are not focused on any one particular location. You know, wherever I am is where the margins guitar collective will be if we S um, in its current form. And so we're not really focused on place, but we're focused on space and the people in those spaces.
[00:07:55] So I have to say again that we won't ever have a [00:08:00] guitar orchestra or that we won't support guitar or a classroom-based guitar education, but that's just not what we're going to do right now. I think that the artist's collective model is really flexible and there's something that a lot of artists and creators and community members are really excited about and engaged in. And so that's again, why the model.
[00:08:26] So again, uh, what do we do? Well, our mission is to support the creation of a diverse and inclusive artistic community focused around the guitar. And we do this in two primary ways. So. Yes, we are an arts presenter. We present concerts, we produce concerts, featuring artists.
[00:08:46] We provide a platform that is engaging and that commits to being embedded in whatever local community that I'm in or that the collective will be in, um, and we do whatever is necessary [00:09:00] and is important. And right now I'm doing some of the performing because I'm a performer in addition to being a podcaster. Um, but I'm a performer and that's some work that I want to engage in, but we are also working with other performers, uh, to, to do the work and the concerts are open and they're free and they're flexible and they are really for everyone. I never want anyone to come into a Margins Guitar Collective concert and not feel like they belong because I've been to far too many guitar concerts where I feel like I didn't belong and I want to create a space that is totally the opposite of that.
[00:09:43] And the other way again, I said there were two ways that we kind of do this work and engaged in our work. So the second way is through commissioning. So this is really that supporting of the artists and the creators who make the music. And [00:10:00] I think that commissions are one of the most direct and important ways that artists can support other artists, but also.
[00:10:08] Ways that communities can support artists. So we commissioned composers to create works that in some way, include the guitar. So that might be a chamber work, which is a work or a piece of music that involves two different instruments. Um, or we do solo works. So we've commissioned, I believe 11 composers so far we've premiered two of those compositions.
[00:10:34] I premiered them, um, in 2019 at our launch concert. And we are kind of taking, we kind of took this year off to really amp up the commissions to work on everything. And then a lot of those will be premiered in 2021. So like I said, please, please ,keep it look out [00:11:00] for the announcements of those concerts, and of those things on social media, I will have linked the Margin's website below in the show notes. And you can also join that newsletter to be updated about that regularly.
[00:11:18] Another question that I think people will have, uh, that cause, you know, whenever people say organization or they're like, are you a non-profit? And it's it's no, the answer is no, we are not a non-profit. But the Margins Guitar Collective is a fiscally sponsored organization, which means that if you would like to donate to us and receive a tax deduction, then you can do so through the portal that will be linked in the website, but we're a fiscally sponsored project by a Fractured Atlas.
[00:11:56]And well again, what have you done so far? Uh, I mentioned that [00:12:00] we've commissioned eleven composers. We've premiere to those works. Most of those, a lot, of those works will be premiered in 2021. And yes, there are videos of the works that have been done so far. Those will be linked.
[00:12:14] Um, so how can you get involved? You're like CID, I've heard you talk about this wonderful organization. I really believe and support the mission and the art and the thing that you're trying to do. So how can I get involved? Well, there are lots of ways to you get involved? If you are a performer and you would like to perform on our concert series, then we are always open and looking to performers. And of course you will be compensated for your time, uh, as a performer, because that's what we do. We support artists and creators of all kinds. The preference, uh, or asteriks for this is that preference will be given to people who [00:13:00] are performing works by marginalized composers or guitarists who might identify as such as well, just because that's the voice. Um, those are the voices that we prioritize here at this organization. Um, if you are a composer or creator or some type of sound designer ,artists, we are always looking to commission people to make great art, because that I believe is at the center of all of the work is creating amazing, great, important, relevant, and impactful art. So if you're a composer you're listening to this, you would like to be commissioned. You have an idea for a guitar work, get in touch, and we will make that happen. And if you are neither a guitarist or a composer, uh, you can share this episode about the collective. You can follow the collective on social media.
[00:13:53] As mentioned, you can donate to the commissioning fund, which again, will go to [00:14:00] support all of the composers and artists that we are working with, you can volunteer with the organization. We have lots of things that you can do a behind the scenes, if you will. Um, that would really be a big help. And we are looking for, uh, also an intern. So someone who can work in a more paid, consistent capacity to learn the inner workings of an artist collective organization.
[00:14:33]So that was just a little bit about the Margins Guitar Collective. It's an organization that is very, very close to my heart as I am the founder. And I believe that it is the work that I was called and put on this earth to do. And so I am always just so inspired and so excited about you know what that project has the potential to do [00:15:00] for not only the guitar community, but, but just for everyone. So that is a little bit about the Margins Guitar Collective.
[00:15:09] Since again, this show is about, uh, music and the relevance of that. I wanted to share this episode's music recommendation for you, which is a song called Home by Joel Ross. It is of course, a Jazz tune. It has lots of Jazz vibes. Uh you'll know exactly why I said that when you listen to it. Um, but it's a great, great tune and I just, I love it so much.
[00:15:42] So as always, don't forget to follow the podcast on social media and on the Musically Cogitating website on the Musically Cogitating Website, you will also find a sign-up for the newsletter, which you can subscribe to where you will receive [00:16:00] some additional and bonus content from the show.
[00:16:03] And if you are listening to this on Apple podcasts, please give us a like, rating, and review as it helps others to find out about the show. Thank you so much to everyone who has reviewed and rated the podcast so far, it really, really helps me make the show better and it helps for other people to find the show.
[00:16:23] And if you would like. Please, please feel free to always get in touch with me and to share the show with a friend. So there's all that I have for you today. Folks, I will be back of course, in two weeks with the next episode of the Musically Cogitating podcast, until then.