Sunday, 20 October 2013

In Memoriam John Bergamo.

Yesterday, October 19th, 2013, John Bergamo has passed away.

© Hands On´Semble

I had the privilege of getting lessons from John during the 1999 and 2000 International Percussion Courses in Cocentaina (Spain). Apart from getting to know an excellent person, I got to know a fantastic musician and teacher. I learnt from him many things that were totally new to me, like Indian talas and ragas and takadimi, he opened for me the door to frame drums and drum circles, made me get to know composers that had scaped my radar until that moment, and he totally surprised me with his vast and rich culture. It spoke very well about his interest in different disciplines the fact that his business card stated "percussionist, composer and gardener".

Remo had a signature line of instruments by him, and they featured a symbol that, to me, looked like the solar disc, so usual in agricultural societies, and very familiar to me (like the ones in Asturias -Northern Spain- where I grow up). 

© Remo

On commenting that similarity to him, he responded it was something else: four inverted "9" deployed as radius emerging from a common center.

For him, perfection was represented by number 9, as adding the figures in all its multiples always resulted in "9".

An example:

9x2=18; 1+8=9
9x3=27; 7+2=9
9x4=36; 3+6=9
9x5=45; 4+5=9
9x6=54; 5+4=9
9x7=63; 6+3=9
9x8=72; 7+2=9
9x10=90; 9+0=9
9x11=99; 9+9=18; 1+8=9
9x12=108; 1+0+8=9
9x13=117; 1+1+7=9
9x14=126; 1+2+6=9

His mathematic perception of the world was not on a decimal base, but on a base-9 one, to which he attributed perfection, thus the symbol on his instruments.

Fascinated by his theory, we exchanged letters for some time. I would send him objects related to the solar disc because of the similarity with his symbol, and he would send me some CDs. I have linked some important events in my life with the number 9 symbology, influenced by John.

Yesterday, a great person has gone.

Rest in peace.

…et in Arcadia ego.
© David Valdés

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