(I generally keep a maximum of three ‘story characters’ but exceptionally here I a) used a group photo and b) wrote using the first-person plural pronoun – because the story is about a music band of rock/swing/funk/otherstyles called the Bowtie Collective, formed by humans of the EU, which is why the narration is done by the band as a whole. Also, I don’t want to be the woman who split the band.)
15:28 . Music actually makes you more sensitive to others, to your surroundings; it also makes you sensitive to notions of time and space. Playing music is another way of connecting people to the world and to one another other.
(From left to right) Willy, drummer of the band works at DG DEVCO, Denis, violinist handles cases within the European institutions, Christian, guitarist, is a lawyer, Alexis, the band singer is a policy assistant at the European Commission, Andrea, the bassist, is a consultant at DG SANTE and Omri, also guitarist is an EU Advocacy officer for Front Line Defenders.
– We met whilst studying at the College of Europe. They told us at that they needed musicians for the opening ceremony of the college. So, since we turned out to be the only guys that had brought their instruments to university, we ended up becoming the guys who played the European anthem at the ceremony and then we simply continued playing with each other – a sort of funk rock version of music with a violin intro – then some guitar and drums came in – et voila! Eventually, we played at parties, for our friends and now we do some concerts in Brussels. I guess people having a good time is what drives us to keep playing. The best part is when we get people to dance! Our songs often have a message – sometimes a political one – the current song is about the risks of climate change. It’s called ‘Temperature rising’. Shush no, it doesn’t sound sexual! (They all laugh)
We also have a lot of ‘feel good, be sentimental’, you know – ‘I love you, you love me’ kind of stuff.
We all work in EU affairs but we also love music, we love listening to music and playing music. It is complementary. We are all very committed to our work : all of us are are working or have worked in the past with either one of the EU institutions, or something related to one of them – and we are as intentional with our work as we are with our music. Music is another way of expressing ourselves. When we go to work, we use our energy and passion, and when on stage it is like a continuity of these feelings: it is about connecting with people, being in the moment.
Music is something that comes from another place than what defines you initially – it transcends it.