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Buzz, Moz and the Bees by Roch Carrier

Buzz, Moz and the Bees by Roch Carrier

Might as well tell you right away: my name is Buzz. I'm the singer in our band, Buzz and the Bees . We practice three hours a day. Sometimes four. Our mothers often ask: "Why can't you spend that much time on your homework?" We are in training for the Battle of the Bands.

The other day, when we got to school, we saw that it wasn't a regular day. In the hallway the girls were clustered like a bunch of grapes.

Me , Buzz , and my Bees went up to them. In the middle of this group of girls, we saw this weird-looking guy in a shiny tunic like people wore in the days of the Beatles. His face was pockmarked. The girls were all excited because he kissed their hands like in old movies. He spoke French, English, German, Italian all at the same time. The girls could understand his gobbledygook. They told us he was a musician: that he'd put on concerts in Europe. Me, Buzz, I didn't believe his bragging. The bell rang. The great star declared: "A day without Mozart is a day without sunshine!" To the girls, that was awesome. Me and my Bees had a quiet meeting. We decided we hated this Mozart.

At the start of class, our teacher introduced the new student. He wasn't nervous. He smiled at everybody. In his pink outfit, he looked like a butterfly.

The lesson was about the origin of the world. "How did it begin?" asked the teacher.

"I know because my father has a telescope and a microscope: it all started with music," Mozart answered.

Huh? We looked at each other. Who'd have thought such a thing?

"Even when there wasn't anything, there was music. Because silence is music too. Have you ever listened to silence?"

The teacher said: "Scientists say the universe began with a huge explosion, the Big Bang!"

"Here's what the Big Bang was like," said Mozart, and he blew this gigantic raspberry.

The whole class roared. Mozart was proud of himself. The teacher did his best to keep a straight face. He ordered Mozart to explain his Big Bang to the principal. The new kid said: "Sorry, but that's nature - not very polite."

At recess me, Buzz, and my Bees went and asked Mozart: "Hey, man, are you really a musician like us?"

He said: "I could tell you guys had music in you!" I can't say why, but we felt proud.

Mozart had never skated. I lent him my skates. He borrowed scarves and wrapped them around his hands. "So I won't break my fingers if I fall," he explained. Then he zipped onto the ice like someone who isn't worried about breaking his neck. Mozart had rubber ankles, but he sang and the girls followed him.

I invited him to visit Buzz and the Bees in our garage. Mozart asked: "How come you need all those boxes and wires to create music?" He'd never picked up an electric guitar. "You don't need lessons to play this." His fingers picked out a few notes and he started playing softly.

Now me, Buzz, I've got talent. But I never got tunes out of my guitar like he did. Me, I play on three strings. Mozart sounded like he was improvising on twenty-five strings. Wow!

Would he like to join Buzz and the Bees for the Battle of the Bands? Yes! The next morning posters announced: BUZZ, MOZ AND THE BEES LAY DOWN THE LAW!

Mozart synthesizer

Never before in the history of the Battle of the Bands was there as much shouting as there was in our gym. We'd found an electronic piano for Mozart. He jumped up and down with excitement when he saw this toy. He took four or five notes of our music and broke them down. Here, I'll explain. At his piano, Mozart cut the notes into little pieces of sound and flung them up in the air. The pieces whirled like birds, they did singing pirouettes, they danced and then he brought all the birds back to their cage� And closed the door… There was just one that was chirping. Can you hear it? Then all at once Mozart opened the door again. And the feast of music started up again. Yeah! And Buzz, Moz and the Bees won the Battle of the Groups. We'll be on TV Wednesday night at 8:30. Don't miss it!

A couple of days later, we were rehearsing in our garage when this black limousine as long as a bus pulled up. It was Moz. "Get in, we're going to the National Arts Centre."

Me, Buzz and my Bees got taken to seats in the first row. At least two thousand people were there, all dressed up as if they were at a wedding. When Moz came on stage the crowd jumped to their feet.

He had on this wig. Me, Buzz, I think he was making up his music while he played it. Yeah! We were so close we could see everything. Sometimes his fingers moved so fast on the keys that we couldn't follow them. Cool! His whole body was quivering..Wow! He was watching the audience. Sometimes one hand crossed over the other one to find a note at the opposite end of the keyboard. Or else instead of using ten fingers, Moz asked just one to do all the work. He played as easily as a kid scribbles. It was, it was … it was amazing� With all his � inventions, his combinations, we felt… I don't know how to put it. Mozart gave our ears wings… Yeah!

Mozart concert

When his concert was over, Mozart said: "Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd like to introduce my musician friends Buzz and the Bees, winners of the Battle of the Bands." Believe it or not, he'd brought along our instruments. Even the electronic piano. I'm sorry you weren't there. Me, Buzz, I've never played better.

In the same way that he'd turned up at our school, Mozart, our friend Moz, disappeared. The girls say he went to Mexico. He told us once: "You have to know your limits to surpass them." We play now as if he was still with us. Me, Buzz, I know he'll come back. You know what I mean?

Roch Carrier

May 2003
Translated by Sheila Fischman


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