Bits of fruits and vegetables flew across the studio as Lane and Sin were performing. “It is usually very messy after the performance,” Lane chuckled. He made his point as he pulled out a score sheet the Orchestra used at a k-11 concert last year – it was stained with carrot juice.
Lane admits that his fellow violist friends do not take fruit music seriously. However, he is determined to take the music form to a higher level by introducing it to school children.
“I mean kids don’t worry about what people would think. They just do it,” says Lane, “in fact we want to encourage the kids to play with their food, and make them eat their vegetables.”
Lane is planning to get the message of eating vegetables across by organizing kids’ workshops at schools. He mentions that the Vienna Orchestra would put their instruments into a big pot of soup after their performances. Participants would then eat it together. Lane has been preparing some proposals, and hopes to contact some primary and secondary schools by next year.
However, not everyone believes that fruit music can be played by just anyone. Music producer Francis Li insists that those who lack musical sense cannot play fruit music because they would go off beat. Therefore, they would not be able to coordinate well with the other orchestra members.
Li does not see fruit music going mainstream, and he thinks it is hard for professional musicians to recognize fruit music. “It is not a standardized music [form], and it cannot be categorized as any music genre,” Li says.
That is unlikely to deter Tang Lok-yin, creator of HKNME and a music composer. Tang is optimistic about the future of fruit music. She has experimented with fruit music and believes it is a special genre that cannot be replaced by traditional ones.
“Fruits can stimulate all five senses in you. You can play with them, smell the fruits while you are playing them. And you can eat them. But as for a real violin, you can’t smell it, and you can’t eat it after the performance,” says Tang.
Tang sees fruit music as a means to exploring unique and original sounds, like A Cappella. It is not about mimicking existing sounds, but about searching for some undiscovered original sounds other than traditional instrumental ones. “If we want to mimic sounds (of conventional instruments), why don’t we just use a violin? It is because we are searching for new sounds,” says Tang.
Tang thinks it is the exploratory and experimental aspects of fruit music that draw musicians to it.
“Decades ago, musicians started making their musical instruments, and composers love to explore their own sounds,” says Tang, “so we will keep finding new sounds. Maybe in the future, there will be a carrot concerto.”