Ten minutes with La quarta corda
After a workshop for Ecole des cordes in Paris, I did a little interview with Alex Bakushi where I talk about me, my story and what ropes mean to me.
I was a little tired after so many hours of workshops and I didn’t think I could do an interview speaking in French. It was actually a nice, friendly and even interesting moment!
NB: the video runs eight minutes … I don’t know why it was called “Ten minutes”!
Alex: Hello Andrea, nice to meet you.
Andrea: Nice to meet you too!
Alex: Let’s do a little interview. Could you introduce yourself, your name and where do you come from?
Andrea: My name is Andrea of La Quarta Corda and I come from Florence in Italy.
Alex: La quarta corda: why did you choose this nickname?
Andrea: “La quarta corda” means “the fourth string”. It’s a way of playing the violin – because I’m a violinist – and it’s wordplay between violin “strings” and shibari “ropes”.
Alex: How long have you been doing shibari?
Andrea: I’ve been practicing for a long time but six years ago I started to tie with a better “attendance”.
Alex: How did you start to do shibari?
Andrea: This is interesting because I didn’t like bondage before, especially Japanese bondage. A few years ago I had a girlfriend and when we broke up I looked for something new, I discovered shibari and I started to tie and to do a lot of workshops, private classes, trips… London, Copenhagen, Tokyo…
Alex: Why did you start to like ropes at some point?
Andrea: I liked BDSM but I didn’t like ropes, the means itself. Then I understood what ropes mean and I started to appreciate them very much.
Alex: Which styles and riggers do you appreciate most?
Andrea: I like traditional bondage, meanly Naka, Masato, Chimuo Nureki and Yukimura San.
Alex: So you took something by all those styles in order to create your own one, didn’t you?
Andrea: I don’t do Naka or Masato or Yukimura style: I do my bondage. I took different things from all these styles and I developed my system, my style, my techniques.
Alex: Do you have any other inspiration? I’m thinking about Japanese culture…
Andrea: Yes, I like Japanese culture. I think we can’t be Japanese in Europe, but we can pick up some elements and adapt them to making something richer.
Alex: What are you searching in ropes, in shibari, when you tie someone?
Andrea: For me to tie means to communicate. Ropes are a means of communication, like talking, or making gestures, but with a different language. I can ask you a question, you can answer me, I can tell you something, you can tell me something, but everything through the ropes. I think this is awesome and incredible.
Alex: You told me you are a musician. Do you think there are some common points between ropes and music? Can we draw a parallel?
Andrea: I think it’s different because in music I play first of all for me and then for other people, for the audience. On the other hand, when I do shibari, I play firstly for my partner and also for me, so it’s different.
Alex: Sometimes people think that learning how to tie needs exercises and a lot of practice, like with a musical instrument…
Andrea: Yes, it’s like going to school. You have to do your homework. I think we can indeed learn a lot by tying ourselves.
Alex: What could be your advice for someone who would like to start with ropes?
Andrea: I think the most important thing is to do a lot of classes, workshops, private lessons, because there’s a technical part that you must know. You can’t do things haphazardly, also because technique, aesthetics and communication go at the same pace. If you do something technically correct probably it will be nice and enjoyable. On the contrary if you tie without technique or communication or if you do an ugly tie maybe at the end everything will have done wrong.
Alex: So, you ground everything on the fact that a good technique, a good aesthetics and a good communication is what determines a nice experience and a nice bondage.
Alex: Thank you very much, Andrea!
Andrea: Thank you and goodbye!
Video: Alex Bakushi for Ecole des cordes – https://www.ecoledescordes.com/