Issue 1 2014

"Fusions between American and Eastern schools are old news, yet seldom has any percussionist drawn so deeply from both wells and come up with a blend as bewitching and original as this." Drum! Magazine

I'm excited to welcome the new subscribers from the U.S., Europe, Middle East, and Africa. It's a joy to share my work and news throughout the world.


I just found out I have been nominated for the second year as Best World Music Instrumentalist by WAMA (Washington Area Music Association). As if that honor isn't enough I was also nominated for Musician of the Year. I am very humbled and grateful to my musical colleagues for this recognition of my work.

The new year is off to a great start with several new projects. I just completed three performances with Jane Franklin Dance. The first included a showing of my multi-media art in addition to my solo percussion performance with the Dadaist Film artist Viking Eggling's Symphonie Diagonale. Jane and I also performed a duet piece with visual media, dance, and my original music. Also in the works is a collaboration, Blue Moon, Red River, a performance of dance and my composition. We have been presenting the work in progress and will perform it in its entirety at the Atlas INTERSECTIONS Festival on Sunday, March 2, 2014. I urge you to support this program as well as all of the Atlas INTERSECTIONS Festival offerings.

In January I composed and recorded original music for the 2010 play, Boxes by Susan Yankowitz. This is for a theatre competition that Mountain View High School in Stafford, VA will be presenting. It has been a delight to work through the creative process with these talented young people and see the results come to fruition. I will return next month to Mountain View to perform a solo percussion program for their students in the International Baccalaureate Program.

I'm excited about a new direction my work is taking in therapeutic sound healing. I'm working with The Red Well Theater Group for a reading of The Great God Pan by Amy Herzog. This is a group of exceptional therapists with an interest and talent for staged readings at psychotherapy conventions. I'm delighted to be joining them on March 8 at AGPA (American Group Psychotherapy Association) in Boston, MA. As an interesting coincidence I am also working on recorded music for a guided meditation CD with Siddharth Ashvin Shah, M.D., M.P.H. for Greenleaf Integrative Strategies. I look forward to continuing this work of healing through sound.

My music and video art has also found its way to Public Television. My composition Reflections was featured on Virginia Currents on two separate occasions along with The Virginia Opera.Thank you to Virginia Currents for your support of my music!

World Percussion Workshop

Due to requests for tips on my jazz approach to a variety of world music instruments, I am offering some brief tutorials on my eclectic approach to "world percussion" filtered through my experience as an American jazz musician. Last month we used Alan Dawson type techniques to develop triplet fills for djembe and other palm drums. This month I'm taking that concept and applying it to the doumbek. I'm using page 38 from Ted Reed, "Progressive Steps To Syncopation" as source material. The eighth notes are to be played as tak strokes with the right hand. The quarter notes as dum strokes with the right hand. The left hand fills in the implied, but unplayed triplets, with Turkish split hand strokes. This video demonstrates the concept.

If you would like to schedule a lesson either in my studio or via Skype please contact me.

Looking Forward

This month I am in the recording studio for projects planned to be released hopefully this spring. I am also continuing my teaching as adjunct professor at UDC in applied percussion. I've been invited to present a series of professional development workshops for DC public school music teachers. In addition I am composing music for my next project with Constellation Theatre which will be, The Love of the Nightingale. It's always a delight to work with Allison Stockman and the gifted designers and actors she pulls together. In my spare time I'm preparing music and logistics for a tour to South America this summer. I'll share more about these developments in the next newsletter.

As February rapidly approaches my collaborator and friend Charles Williams and I would like to share our interpretation of one of the inspiring speeches by Rev. Martin Luther King, "I Still Believe".

Peace, Salam, Shalom, Shanti,