Now That’s Ninjarific #2 – The Mechanized Muse Edition

One of the best things about the interwebs is that it’s filled with lots of groovy stuff. I mean, sure, it’s also filled with lots of crap and bunches of snooze. But some stuff is so ninjarific that it just begs to be shared.

Thus the advent of the Now That’s Ninjarific series.

Now I have a place to share the awesomesauce stuff I bump into with some of my favorite people ever.

Woot! Yay! And woohoo!

Some of the aforementioned grooviness is sound stuff. Some of it’s not. All of it’s totally ninjarific. It sort of has to be to qualify for an installment of Now That’s Ninjarific, right?

So I totally yayed it up when the premier edition of Now That’s Ninjarific came out. And now I have to say yay! again because this is the second edition.

The second edition.

Which means this is now officially a series. A real series. Not an imaginary one.


Ok, now we can dive straight into the awesome…

Birds + Brilliant = Awesome

When Jarbas Agnelli saw a photo of a group of birds hanging out on some electric lines, he did something pretty frakking incredible. He translated it into music.

Music. Made by birds. Sitting on electric lines.

Here it is in his own words:

Reading a newspaper, I saw a picture of birds on the electric wires. I cut out the photo and decided to make a song, using the exact location of the birds as notes. I was just curious to hear what melody the birds were creating.

This is all kinds of amazing. And it immediately makes me wonder just how often nature is busy making gorgeous music, while we’re just seeing a bunch of birds.

My takeaway from this is that when you change the way you see something – the way you relate to something – it makes room for some serious magic to show up. Woot!

Plus we’re surrounded by music. Which is a thousand kinds of awesome.

Now listen to this bit of bird-ey beautifulness, which I found thanks to @pattidigh on Twitter.

Eat your heart out David Copperfield

Kurt Wenner is supposedly an artist. But I think he’s more like a magician. Like David Copperfield. Minus the cheesy jokes, the Bonny Tyler soundtrack and the abuse liberal use of hair products.

Mr. Copperfield Mr. Wenner works his magic on streets and sidewalks, creating the most mind-blowing murals you’ve even seen. This stuff will arm-wrestle your brain into submission, as it tries to sort out exactly how the hell he did what he did.

The secret behind this make-your-mind-go-boom art is something called anamorphosis. Don’t ask me to explain it. I can’t. All I know is that his stuff is the paragon of ninjarificness.

So check it out.

Now this is sound healing

Emmanuel Jal is a rockstar. A real life rockstar. Who does music and stuff.

But he’s also a rockstar because he’s using music to transform the pain and tragedy and suffering that comes with growing up in Sudan – a place that’s seen more violence and death than most of us could ever imagine.

When he was a kid, he tried to escape Sudan by heading to Ethiopia where he thought he’d get to go to school. Instead he was taken to a military training camp run by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. And given a gun. And taught to kill.

But he’s gone from wanting to kill to wanting to heal and unite and educate and elevate.

Yeah, he’s a rockstar.

In this video, he tells his story. And then he sings,  showing the healing power of music in action.

You can just feel the vibe in his music. This guy is changing the world. And bringing tons of healing and inspiration too.

Big ups to the fine folks at RockOm, which is where is where I found this nugget of awesome. You can check them out here and here.

Amanda Palmer nails it
Fact: Amanda Palmer is a rockstar. Who does music and stuff.
Fact: Amanda Palmer’s music rocks.
Fact: Amanda Palmer totally nails it. Nails it, I say.

In this blog post she talks about why she’s not afraid to take your money. And why creative folks of all flavors shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for support for their art.

Because have you noticed how there’s this utterly sucktastic stigma around creative people being paid for their work? Like it’s something dirty or shameful or ridiculous.

No one thinks twice about a doctor or a lawyer or a plumber being paid for their work.

But an artist? The nerve.

Amanda gets to the bottom line brilliantly:

it’s about empowerment and it’s about SIMPLICITY: fan loves art, artist needs money, fan gives artist money, artist says thank you.

She takes a delicious stand on this stuff and totally nails how hard it is to do creative work, and why asking for (and receiving) support for said work is not just ok, but pretty much essential.

If you do creative stuff, or dig anyone who does, read her post. And pass it on. Because it’s powerful, and important, and full of stuff to think about and talk about and take in.

You can follow Amanda on Twitter too. She’s @amandapalmer. (Did I mention that she rocks?)

And a nod to @copylicious who turned me on to this post in the first place. She rocks too.

Udu? I do. You too?

So I’m learning to play the udu. Which is a fabulous, funky clay drum from Nigeria. Think gorgeous-vase-ey-flower-pot-thing-that-makes-noise. That’s the udu. And it has a sound that is totally unique and ridiculously cool.

Enter Marco Fadda. The guru of udu. He totally tears these drums up in this video, which speaks for itself.

Watch it. Love it. Do some major shaky butt to it.

I heart Haile

Two geniuses from Georgia Tech – Gil Weinberg and Scott Driscoll – might have just found my soulmate made one of the coolest robots ever.

Haile is a robot. That drums.

Yeah, you read that right.

A robot that drums.

They’ve managed to create a mechanized muse that doesn’t just bang a drum. I mean, any wind-up monkey could do that.

No, Haile can actually hear what her human drum buddy is playing and then play back a bit of improvised gorgeousness based on that.

Here’s what the brains behind the magic have to say about her:

We believe that when collaborating with live players, Haile can facilitate a musical experience that is not possible by any other means, inspiring players to interact with it in novel expressive manners, which leads to novel musical outcome.

Not the sexiest explanation ever, but I heart Haile. You will too once you see her in action.

I so know what I’m asking for this Christmas.

And I’m definitely asking Santa to be extra nice to the always-awesome @kirstinbutler, who finds and tweets the best links ever. If you’re not following her on Twitter, you really should be.

Ok, that does it for me. I hope you dig the new helping of ninjarificness. And I wouldn’t be mad at you if you shared some oh-my-god-this-rocks of your own.

What fabulous stuff have you stumbled across lately?

Leave me a comment and let me know.

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3 Responses to Now That’s Ninjarific #2 – The Mechanized Muse Edition
  1. Katie Schroth
    October 1, 2009 | 6:51 pm

    Powerful sharing. Thank you – especially Emmanuel Jal’s heartwrenching story. It really puts one’s challenges into perspective.

    Thanks to a sharing from @Rigel38 I found out about Kseniya Simonova’s Amazing Sand Drawing Really amazing stuff.

  2. Josiane
    October 1, 2009 | 10:31 pm

    Good stuff – and I’m not yet done going through it all!

    When I followed the link to Kurt Wenner’s sidewalk art, I thought “hey, I’ve seen that lately”. But then I went back to the first link I had come across, and it turns out it wasn’t the same guy! So if you want some more of that ninjarifically mind-bending stuff, go check out Julian Beever’s pavement drawings. Enjoy!
    .-= Josiane´s last blog ..Practicing body poetry with Havi =-.

  3. Fabeku
    October 2, 2009 | 4:07 pm

    @Katie – I found Emmanuel Jal’s story really powerful too. In a lot of different ways. And yeah, it definitely gives one some perspective. Those sand paintings are amazing. I bumped into those somewhere on Twitter too. Thanks for the link. I really dug watching them again.

    @Josiane – Wow! Julian Beever’s stuff is crazy cool. How do these people do this stuff? It blows my mind. I can just feel my brain going Huh? Wha? How? Thanks for the link. And your blog post about body poetry? Totally ninjarific. As a fellow Shivanaut, I loved it.

    Thanks both of you for hanging out and saying hey. I appreciate it tons.

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