The James 1 Piano
The James 1 Piano is an antique upright grand made in the United States one hundred years ago (1916) by the Lagonda Piano Company. James 1 purchased the piano after it had been displayed for an unknown amount of time in a private residence in Villavicencio, Colombia. In May 2016, the piano was brought to Bogota, Colombia, where James 1 technicians (Piano Queveda) began restoring the piano’s cabinet in anticipation of the [project’s first video]. Bogota-based internationally-known graffiti artists, Kimera Attack Crew – RMA, immediately began preparing to paint the piano, and in June 2016, after four days of filming at the Volvo warehouse in Bogota, the transformation of the piano was complete.
At project’s end, the James 1 Piano will be auctioned
off for museum or private display. Proceeds will directly support the endowment
for scholarship funds of children of Colombian police officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Every Side A Tribute
The James 1 Piano is a tribute to the heart and soul of Colombia.
The Left Side
The left side of the piano honors the Colombians’ love of futbol (soccer). James Rodriguez, a Colombian star, wears number 10. Look carefully how the James 1 player’s leg and ball is wrapped from the side to the front of the piano. The full picture can only be seen from the diagonal.
And James Rodriguez has showed his support for Operation Continuing Honor. After leading Colombia to a victory over Venezuela, he stopped by to sign his side!
The Right Side
The right side recognizes a masterful musical Colombian art form — Vallenato, a strong four beat art style which originates largely from Colombia’s Caribbean region. James 1 specifically honors Colombian accordion and Vallanato star, Alfredo Gutierrez.
The back honors a young child’s hope. Unfortunately, tragic poverty is still a reality in Colombia. Many regions suffer from lack of water, food, and basic needs are not met. Coupled with the sacrificial loss of a father in the line of duty and families are left with very little. A prayerful face of a young Colombian girl reminds us of the need to give back.
The back of the piano also reminds us of the goals of James 1. Santiago (James) 1:27 states: Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress.
The star motif throughout the upper front board pays tribute to the Colombian National Police while a pair of converse shoes embedded in the large star on the right illustrates a young artist’s desire to help. The inner lid was left white as a point of collection for signatures of famous Colombians who may contribute to the project with their talents or cameo appearances.
The Lagonda Piano Company
Lagonda was established in 1900 in New Castle, Indiana. At the time, Lagonda built upright pianos, player pianos (“pianolas”), and baby grands. The brand was discontinued around 1950. Antique Piano Shop has various ads from the early 1900’s advertising Lagonda pianos. Touting the “finest equipped piano factory in the world,” they offered a 30-day trial, complete with a free “stool.” Their advertisement promised a “well made piano that will last you a lifetime.” Indeed, who would have known that we would be playing one of their “rich-toned” pianos 100 years later!
Moreover, Lagonda boasted the “elegant rich finish” of their pianos. During the project’s first video, the James 1 artists carefully preserved that original finish by leaving the name board untouched. Given the age of the piano, our technicians are astounded at the preserved and supple beauty of that name board. Moreover, as we consider an undoubtedly adventurous century of travel from Indiana to Colombia, the beauty of that piece is nothing short of miraculous.
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