Tag Archives: Stu

Performing Tones in Valencia, Spain at Forja ArteContemporáneo

No puedo hablar mucho Espanol, but I can point out tones to play from my tone menu (the apron)!

No puedo hablar mucho Espanol, but I can point out tones to play for people from my tone menu (the apron)!

Last night was the opening of the Transfer Lounge show at Forja ArteContemporáneo in Valencia where I performed Pittsburgh ringtones. The event was well-attended even though a couple of torrential downpours fell throughout the evening. Since I speak very simple Spanish, I felt a little bit shy approaching gallery visitors as I would in Los Estados Unidos. I switched up my approach a bit–I  walked around the space, playing/amplifying tones and drew attention to the project sin palabras (without words). I then visited with folks en Espanol when they stopped by my table to pick up some of the art cards. One major advantage to come from the experience of performing ringtones in Spain is the opportoneity to think about using my body to perform the tones (rather than just rely upon my brain/ language-center). Wow, I thought this morning–Note to Self: traveling to other places can help to inform and expand an artist’s practice and approach.

The event was catered by Absolut (what a great promotional idea for Absolut, and a help to artists and artist-run organizations!). I wondered if this sort of sponsorship from the company is accessible to artists’ organizations back home.

Absolut Bartenders at the Forja Opening (photo by Carolina Loyola Garcia)

Absolut Bartenders at the Forja Opening (photo by Carolina Loyola Garcia)

Although I didn’t have time to look carefully at all the artists’ work included in the exhibition, I spent a good deal of time last night being riveted by pieces from Christina Ghetti, Filippos Tsitsopoulos and Ima Picó–I can’t wait for Pittsburgh to see their work. I’ll be writing more about Ima Pico as her help capturing and identifying Valencian tones was a tremendous contribution to the project.

Ghetti's Installation at Forja

Ghetti's Installation at Forja

Video work by Fillippo

Video work by Fillippo

Co-curator Pico Standing near Her Own Work

Co-curator Pico Standing near Her Own Work

Another highlight of the show para mi, was a visit from Consulor Agent Dr. David Nordlund from the United States Department of State in Valencia.


Foley, Nordlund y Loyola-Garcia

Carolina y yo were delighted to have a visit from Dr. Nordlund!  He took some pictures of the show but also took the time to visit with us (me, Carolina and Ima) about our work, Forja and the arts in general in Valencia. He even suggested that a return visit from Locally Toned might be an interesting idea (such as making Valencian tones during las Fallas?!). That would be fabulous! From what everybody tells me here about las Fallas (a week-long fiesta that runs in March of each year), that is certainly what Valencia sounds like.

Here are the photographic art cards from Pittsburgh that I took to the show. Hey, Caleb, HHOL, Peyton, horsies of Indiana, Erok, the Kennywood Merry-Go-Round, Bhante Maithrie, Coqui, and Stu, didja all know you came to Spain with me?

Photo 231

Photo 232

Photo 233

Photo 234

Photo 235

Because I don’t have tone distribution for mobile phone companies that operate in Spain, I came up with the clever idea (with Curator Loyola-Garcia’s help) of pasting [shortened] mp3 URLs on the backs of the cards so folks could easily access the audio files to download the tones to their European phones.


These last photos are documentation of performative moments taken by Ima’s friend Sonia (and Valencian ringtone contributor). Thanks for including my work in the show, Carolina, and thanks Ima and to Forja’s Toni Calderón for their help and hospitality!

carolina y yo



Sometimes a ringtone sounds so good, you have to close your eyes and listen.


Filed under Locally Toned (all posts), Project Updates

Stuart Alan Braun’s Harmonica Tones


Stuart Alan Braun is a musician and an elementary school special educator. He’s known among friends as Stu, and he plays a mean Harmonica (and Melodica). I first encountered his playing as part of one of my favorite Pittsburgh bands of all time–The Johnsons/Johnsons Big Band (whose recordings are still in rotation on my playlists). Thesedays he plays with Man in the Street, a roots-reggae band, Local Honey, and the Turpentiners (which Stu described as “acoustic fun/new ‘old time’ music.”


Stu ended up contributing some tones to the project because of a question I often ask my participants, “Who else do you think should be a ringtone?” It was Mehrdad Murrie Emamzadeh (the Farsi Tones contributor) who said Stu should definitely be a ringtone. Thanks, Murrie!


Stu lives up on Mt. Washington and has been playing harmonicas since he was 17 years old. In between showing me his awesome little vegetable garden, and eating cherry tomatoes (while waiting for airplanes to pass by so we could capture good audio), Stu played three distinct melodies for project tones.


The first tone series is in the key of C–Stu played this fast piece a couple of times–a bluesy stomp improv on a Hohner Special 20 Harmonica. I’ve made a few tracks/tones from this first melody. Here’s the Bluesy Improv Stomp Tone (Short Version) and the Bluesy Improv Stomp Tone (Long Version).  The short version was an excerpt from Stu’s first harmonica take that day but the whole thing was too long for a ringtone, but so, so good that I thought you might want to put it into your iTunes folder–here’s Stu’s Bluesy Stomp Improv Bonus Track. Plus, if you listen carefully, you’ll hear a plan flying through part of the recording.

The second harmonica melody we recorded was an improv based on the blues song Motherless Children. We’re calling it the Mount Washington Sketch Tone–it’s a slower tone, and Stu played it on his Hohner Marineband Harmonica (this instrument has had the exact same design since 1896!). The final tune is a shorter alert signal–the Drowsy Maggie Alert Signal–a traditional Irish fiddle tune which Stu played on his American Bushman Harmonica. Stu played this one specifically for those folks out there who want a harmonica text, video or pic message alert.


Thanks, Stu, for doin’ what you do! Happy to have these amazing harmonica tones in the project.


Filed under Locally Toned (all posts), Ringtones