The first few weeks of the ISU pushed us into a whirlwind of new impressions consisting of lots of historical and cultural visits all around Berlin, lectures and seminars on Prussia’s history. In between, there are the small night escapades that all of us made individually.
Somewhere in the middle of ISU week two, I decided to stop for a minute and look back at these past two weeks. Something was missing, I realised, and after some thinking, it became clear that somehow we missed the social part of this summer school. How do we get to do some bonding?
The answer to this riddle came out of the blue, in the form of the short and completely spontaneous guitar show that we attended last Wednesday. Peter’s birthday being the excuse for the gathering, we stayed on the lawn in front of our dorms and opened the evening with Radiohead’s well-known Creep.
Before we knew it, other ECLA students joined in and we all sang along to fellow student Andrei’s guitar riff. The familiar sounds of Nirvana, The Cranberries, Damien Rice and Beirut could be heard all around and it was amazing to hear us all coming from different parts of the world and yet sing in unison.
Interestingly enough, some hidden talents appeared out of the woodwork and we had the good fortune to hear Selbin performing in Turkish and Jelena performing Serbian songs. There were even variations of the famous Smelly Cat song by some of the older ECLA students.
By the end of the evening, everyone had the chance to demonstrate their guitar abilities, just to make sure that we equally participated in this enjoyable mini concert.
However, that evening was not the end to the musical events. The following Saturday, right after finishing our first essays, the ECLA community went on to attend the concert of the band The Loafing Heroes – an extracurricular project of one of the ECLA ISU faculty.
The evening was opened by Daniel Dye, a country singer from Ohio. His show was a most welcome warm-up for the real pleasure that was to follow afterwards – the performance of The Loafing Heroes. Although not many of us were familiar with their music, their catchy tunes took us in and we all plunged into the ethereal sound of their music. The warm songs of The Loafing Heroes made all of us wanderers feel like we were coming home.
Finally, the cherry on top for the night was the lead singer’s recital of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, accompanied by the calming guitar sounds in the background. This gave a completely different perspective of the famous T.S. Eliot poem and crowned the evening. As the night closed in around us, we truly felt like “our loafing had won”.
And so it was that all of us felt prepared for yet another week of exploring the fragility and formidability of Prussian history. Only, this week is different. Now all of us feel like we truly belong to ECLA’s community, because for those with whom you feel free to sing along with are people whom you can call friends.
Indeed, now we all feel the bonding powers of music. Music is magical, and so here and there between all those lectures and seminars, let’s unleash a little more of that magic now, shall we?
by Gjurgica Ilieva (ISU’11, Macedonia)