Collaborations with Visual Artist Nick Cave
What a busy fall it has been! In September I was honored to collaborate with visual artist Nick Cave on his project: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth with Roanoke Ballet Theatre, Southwest Virginia Ballet and students from Radford University at The Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, VA. It was so exciting to have my original music accompany the amazing "soundsuits" created by Nick and some wonderful professional and student dancers in the Roanoke area. We presented this multi-media production at a standing room only exhibit opening, two school performances and even a parade through the city. Here are some links to see some video of the performances.
This collaboration was well covered by both TV and other media. You can view a TV spot on this project here WDBJ7 News Coverage. The project with Nick Cave was so successful that we will be collaborating again in December! We will be celebrating an instillation at The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia on December 16. It should be quite a fascinating event with Nick Cave's amazing artwork, 10 dancers, an opera singer in addition to my electro/acoustic percussion.
Travels to New Zealand and Samoa
Just after returning from Roanoke, VA I departed for a State Department tour of New Zealand and Samoa. What a fantastic time I had performing, giving workshops and collaborating with indigenous musicians there! The first stop was Wellington, New Zealand. There I performed a solo concert at The Te Papa Museum in celebration of The World Cup Rugby Championship America Day. I also performed at a special needs school, presented school programs, workshops for drummers and even played a solo gig and a collaboration in a night club. The musical highpoint for me was collaborating with the Cook Island Master Drummers on a Cook Island Heritage Day. These wonderful drummers and people were so gracious to me and it was a true honor to perform for them and have an opportunity to learn more about their fascinating culture! New Zealand and Samoa Ambassador David Huebner graciously requested that I guest write for his blog. Here is my portion of the New Zealand leg of this fascinating tour: Blog New Zealand This has a day by day account of the activities as well as some pictures and video.
After departing New Zealand I was off to Samoa. This also proved to be an amazing experience. While there I presented school programs, teacher workshops and several collaborations. Among the varied collaborations that were arranged for me included those with church choirs, dance students from local universities and even a collaboration with native dancers performing their traditional fire dances!
It was really an honor to be there to welcome new Deputy Chief of Missions, Chad Berbert. He personally introduced me at several concerts and was the host at his residence for an evening concert where I performed solo and brought together all of the previously mentioned collaborations. Here is Chad's recounting of my time in Samoa: Blog Samoa Once again Ambassador Huebner asked me for a recounting of my experience in Samoa for his guest blog.
Educational Presentation and Master Clinic
One of my favorite educational activities is to share the musical results of my travels with serious music students here in the US. I had a wonderful opportunity to do just that. I presented a clinic on my hybrid approach to world percussion at Peabody Conservatory. My good friend and wonderful percussionist Nasar Abadey, the jazz percussion instructor, was host. We spent a great evening exploring palm drum technique, frame drums, live digital looping, a variety of tambourines and South Indian rhythmic systems. At the conclusion of the clinic Nasar and I jammed on balafon, djembe, drum set , frame drums and electronics. Keep an eye out for a future collaboration with Nasar in the future.
I am staying in the Washington, DC area for a few months to work on some recording, film, educational DVD and other projects. I am opening up my newly renovated teaching studio for serious interested students. Please email for an appointment.
I'm wishing all of you a wonderful holiday season!
Until next time.
Peace, Salam, Shalom,