The Sound of Freedom

OK, I’ll confess, I’m a bit of a Montreal snob when it comes to our artistic culture in this town. It’s just that ol’… je ne sais quoi. Case in point: this past weekend I invited my neighbor, who’s new to Montreal, to meet my friend Lori Freedman who was performing in the Murray Street Band–a local band made up of leading Free Jazz/Improve/ Musique Actuelle/New-Music musicians from Montreal and invited guests. Now, the cool classic Montreal thing about the evening (aside from the musical experience) was the chilled, grunge loft environment where the show was held–at l’Envers, in the Mile-End district. It was like hanging out in your living room with 75 friends and relatives. This is not a place to be wearing your fanciest pumps (unless you’re being kitsch).

How does this event relate to my thesis project about education and the need for trans-formative educational practices? Well, listen to this:

Murray Street Band sample

If you are new to Free Jazz this sound might seem… chaotic. The style has been around since the 50-60’s and, although I’m not a connoisseur of the movement I’ve learned to understand the practice over the years. These thoroughly accomplished, often classically trained, musicians take to the stage and perform whatever instinctively comes to them in the moment based on the ‘energy’ and performance of their peers; ya, it’s improve with NO intention of melodic creation. Once on stage they are in a sandbox, completely free to produce whatever sound comes to mind… and once they get a taste of this practice it becomes an addictive creative style many can’t live without. Such freedom!

I am, therefore, drawing an analogy to how valuable free thinking is for people. Our ‘industrial’ system of education may try to pump out industrious thinkers but somewhere along the line the craving for creativity and exploring ones natural instincts can becomes deeply necessary, rewarding and addictive. Why not then, make it the starting point in our educational development?

(post photo by: Edwin Monney)

About cayoup

Colleen Ayoup was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. She has been engaged in media creation for nearly twenty years. After attending the Dawson Institute of Photography (Montreal), she worked as a commercial photographer for several years until the craving for different creative pursuits gave way. This desire led to two subsequent degrees in Psychology/Film Studies and Film Production (B.A., B.F.A) at Concordia University in Montreal. Her short fiction films and documentary, Kings (2001), about drag-king culture in Montreal toured festivals internationally. In 2004, she joined the National Film Board of Canada where she coordinated Doc Shop, a program designed to give emerging filmmakers an opportunity to learn trade skills from industry professionals and produce a short documentary for broadcast on CBC. She also contributed to the development and creation of CitizenShift (, the NFB’s first social-media website that she subsequently coordinated for five years. She is a recent graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program in Documentary Media at Ryerson University (Toronto, ON)