I'm always on the hunt for leaders in the local music scene. My search led me to Oliver Ignatius, the self proclaimed Minister of Information and Head Honcho at Mama Coco's Funky Kitchen recording studio. Founded five years ago, and run by a collective of artists, the studio records and produces tons of records by local artists.
Now at their fourth studio, (the first of which was a ramshackle bedroom, the second was a basement with seven-foot high ceilings and a mice infestation where the group was driven out by neighbors which led them to their third studio in a commercial space which flooded and had raccoons living in the walls,. The straw that broke Oliver's back was a final wave of flooding in Spring 2014 which brought on the move to their current space) #CurseOfMCFK
Together the collective raised money from friends and the community for their elaborate five month construction project to open Mama Coco's Funky Kitchen studio in January 2015.
The collective recently put together a production called The Harmonies, which was directed and arranged by the group and is their finest achievement to date.
They spent 4 months preparing for the show, which was an all-immersive quasi-theatrical art spectacle. Performed in a DIY venue with installations projected on all surfaces, The Harmonies is a war story about a military operation in a dystopian world.
The show was inspired by real life events (from Oliver's wedding in fact). The marriage took place in upstate New York surrounded by family and friends who all dropped acid during the festivities. The events that ensued (rolling around in the woods, howling at the moon) inspired the collective in attendance to create musical work that went beyond any they’ve experienced at a rock concert. The creation of their production, The Harmonies, was their concerted effort to break out of the box of what music can do.
"Harmony is a state of action, where you have all the polarities. Polarity is just a shorthand for every dot on a grid, which makes up the sum total of everything we know to exist in this world, and the state of harmony is when all the dots are vibrating in such a way that any larger elemental force, like the force of nature or power of sound for example, can move through them unobstructed. [This production] showcases the human creations of war and peace. [The show] follows the peacekeeping mission to restore the harmonic balance to the world, which collapses spectacularly as the story progresses."
Oliver is working to make sure all artists in the Mama Coco Funky Kitchen collective are respected as visionaries, are pushed and challenged to go beyond the scope of what they believe is possible for themselves.The collective chose the name Mama Coco's Funky Kitchen because they wanted to deter pretentious people. Coco is actually Oliver's parrot, a white cockatoo. The group likes the idea that Coco runs things, and if their actions seem erratic don’t blame them, blame Coco.
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