Mn'JAM experiment is a collective led by M (the singer) and JAM (visual artist/light artist/electronics/turntables). They truly believe that music performances should grow beyond the traditional notions and roles associated to musicians and transform these into someone on stage showcasing some kind of artistry/proficiency (regardless of the medium chosen to do it).
JAM - Among other things, he calls himself a visual musician in the sense that he pushes buttons and knobs on stage (so that everyone can appreciate/see the artistry involved) but, most of the times, the output of his playing is visual (with real time effects on lights/visual projections) and only from time to time audio (with electronic sounds). Although he studied in 2 Art Academies (KABK and Minerva Academy) and 3 Conservatories (New England Conservatory, Codarts and Prince Claus Conservatoire) he still sees his work connected with his childhood impressions of Charlie Parker and Jazz in the sense that, in his eyes, jazz was and should always try to find new frontiers being that live improvisation and artistry are at the center of it - there are many tools in the jazz idiom that can be adapted and used with live visual digital/light improvisation (for example, the notion of comping in its parametric elements of density, range, rhythmic placement, consonance/dissonance, etc).
M - is a TC-Helicon ambassador, the way she uses her voice in conjunction with the effect/loop station can only be described as a symbiotic relation similar to what is normally seen in the body/instrument relation on instrumentalist (e.g. with brass: embouchure/breathing/finger movement). M has a long academic background having studied studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, besides holding a bachelor degree in jazz performing (voice) by ESMAE (Portugal) and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. Complexity is the common thread regarding the unique way that M uses the loop station - this is also true because this particular device/instrument is known to be used in a very unimaginative almost flat way. What M does is to jazzify practices and possibilities introducing harmonic modulations, tempi modulation/meter modulations/poly-rhythmic elements, singing chords and ultimately whole chord progressions by using harmonizer effects, etc.
(↓ bellow video snippets from Mn'JAM experiment collaboration with two time GRAMMY® award-winning Casey Benjamin)
Individually, both of them (Mn'JAM) or with the whole band Mn'JAM experiment has been doing numerous lectures and/or workshops, as example we can name the following:
- Meet the Masters series, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Piladelphia USA
- Old Town School of Folk Music - Chicago, USA
- BTK Hamburg, DE
- Kathmandu University School of Arts Center for Art and Design, NP / - Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory, NP
- The Conservatory of Music of Oporto, PT
- The American University in Cairo, EG
- Mladi Ladi festival - workshop series, CZ
- Het Nutshuis, NL - HOOGTIJ - within a collaborative work with a plastic artist.
In terms of workshops there are 4 main possibilities (lectures are a descriptive less extensive hands-on version of the workshops):
open to all instrumentalists, focusing on loops and effects showing all different possibilities and complex configurations (workshop format inviting participants to try it by themselves)
open to all art students, focusing on the process behind creating audio-visual material to then be used live by JAM as a visual musician (usually a series of assignments converging towards a final collaborative group piece in the work)
open to all instrumentalists and art students, focusing on concepts and practices behind the performance - loops and effects, band/visual synchronism done live (workshop format inviting participants to try it by themselves)
Same as point 3 this time with the whole band so that all musicians involved can explain how they approach this project and what their role is, including a mini (and explained) showcase of the most "didactic"/complex pieces.