Uncovering music and art in a new city

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: BRENDAN BEAMISH
There are different ways to get to know a city, regardless of the country you are in. If you are a tourist or plan to stay for a long period, discovering the city through art and music is one of the most fun and profound ways to do this.

I moved from Brazil to London in Sept. 2021, almost two years after the start of the COVID- 19 pandemic. My initial knowledge about the city came from Instagram, especially from Brazilians’ profiles, and official websites such as London Tourism.

There are different ways to get to know a city, regardless of the country you are in. If you are a tourist or plan to stay for a long period, discovering the city through art and music is one of the most fun and profound ways to do this. Knowing a city or region from this perspective gives us the possibility to discover the past, understand the present and imagine what the future can be like.

However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many places were closed, and live concerts were cancelled or adapted for the virtual realm.

Navigator. Londons student lifestyles magazine.

For weeks, staying at home in a new country that I wanted to explore was frustrating. As much as the situation was moving towards “normalcy,” I wanted to live in the city and enjoy all the activities involved in it as soon as possible.

Baby steps have been made, and my first activity in the London art scene was to go to Museum London at 421 Ridout Street N. I don’t know much about art at a theoretical level nor do I know how to analyze art with a professional view. However, having direct contact with history through paintings will be able to introduce you to this field and show how local art is pulsating around here.

Taking the Long View is a permanent art exhibition in Museum London. The art pieces are separated into thematic sections like Faces, Places, and London Regionalism. As a newcomer, it was interesting, for example, to see The Covent Garden Market in 1883 by Paul Peel (1860-92).

The information about each section and artwork can be accessed by a QR Code or using a paper guide that you receive at the entrance. The data assembled imparts a different London that sometimes you cannot approach in a nutshell. It’s a suitable experience for a generation that prefers things briefly and directly.

In the London Regionalism section, there is an interesting and, personally, astonishing passage from Art in America (1969), an article written by the art historian Barry Lord about London: “the most important art centre in Canada and a model for artists working elsewhere, the site of ‘Canada’s first regional liberation front.’”

My other artistic experience involved music, while reporting for Interrobang. I could research and interview important figures in this area, to write an article for this issue about the Forest City London Music Awards (FCLMA). The event, which involves the whole community, will complete 20 years in 2022. For a week, London will be able to enjoy local music and honour its musicians.

Knowing someone with passion and honour about local music history like co-founder of FCLMA, Mario Circelli, gives me more desire to deep dive and discover more about tourism, art, and music. For at least two years, London will be my home and I want to live here vividly and discover new things.

As a newcomer, I understand that finding out more about art or music can be hard, because we do not have references, at least not right away. Starting from zero can actually be positive because you can create your own preferences, uncovering the best places to go. The internet is a quick way to begin. Besides social media and hashtags, the London Tourism website (londontourism.ca) provides useful tips and information about local culture.

You can even go to Museum London and watch concerts during the FCLMA without paying anything. To access more details about them, visit museumlondon.ca and fclma.ca. Enjoy them!

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.