By Kiat Tan Wei Jie
Food is more than just sustenance and for many; food is the flavor of life. Food has always been a ubiquitous subject in the world of music and literature.
Food for thought – organized by NUS Guitar Ensemble (GENUS) in partnership with ExxonMobil Campus Concerts, aims to provoke our auditory senses and celebrate food from a different perspective. From the bibimbap of Korea to cafes, the chefs armed with their guitars and percussions dished out a blend of classical, jazz and soulful tunes to tantalize our taste-buds.
The head-chef, Dr Robert Casteels kickstarted the evening with the ensemble’s arrangement of “Tango Potpourri”, a medley of Argentinian tangos. Dr Robert Casteels is a well-established professional composer and conductor, and he has conducted orchestras spanning around the world, with a repertoire of 600 works. It was no surprise that the audience was in for a treat this evening.
The concert progressed with every dish bringing us back in time and painting a story. The fourth piece ‘Tea for Two”, for example, brought us to a lazy afternoon with a couple indulging in tea. The slow melodies of the piece conveyed love, desire and passion. The next piece, “Moliendo Café” was played at an upbeat tempo and it spoke of coffee-grinders in bitterness longing for lost-love. The eighth piece “Golliwogg’s cakewalk”, however, was more controversial as it presented the theme of racism.
Of course, the concert ended on a high Dr Robert Casteels gracing the stage with a toque, and responding to the rousing demands of “Encore, encore!”
The fusion of food and music portrayed was fresh and unique and I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of group and orchestral pieces showcased. Vincent, an engineering student from NUS shared the same sentiments. “It is my first time at a concert, and I really liked it.” Said the 20-year old student. The myriad of genres – love, racism and even mythology gave the concert variety, and the storytelling that preceded each piece gave us a clear understanding of the storyline.
Food for thought definitely provoked our senses, and the synthesis of food and music will continue to nurture us until the end of time.