Sunday, February 06, 2005

A Good Week

Hello,

It is Superbowl Sunday today!! What an event. I heard earlier this week that somthing like 80 million people watch the superbowl. Talk about pressure to perform. Anyway, I had a good week. It started off with a great hand drum workshop. I have been hosting these workshops every week for two years, and each week has been a unique experience. Lately we have been working on composing an original piece using Indian Sokatu, which is basically a way to vocalize rhythm and turn it into a language. (Ta Ka Di Mi Thom - Thom - , etc.) It is so wonderful when everyone really gets into it. I am hoping to have the piece completed in time to perform it at an upcoming larger scale workshop I am doing in March. It is called "A Vision of East Meets West, a Western Approach to Indian Classical Music". The purpose is to introduce people to Indian Classical music by showcasing the various styles, ideas, and ediquitte behind an Indian Classical performance. Also, I want to show the possibilities of mixing Indian and Western musical ideas, hence the hand drum piece.
Speaking of fusing the two styles....on Tuesday I met with Chris Leers and Meeta Banerjee about a collaboration with the Ann Arbor Pops Orchestera in April. We talked about orchestrating an Indian Rag for Tabla, Sitar, and a 75 peice orchestra! I am so excited about this. I am not sure of the details, it is still in the early stages, but I will definitely keep you posted. All I know right now is that it is in early April, and it is at the Michigan Theater.
On Friday I played at Cafe Felix again with Deep Blue. Having a regular gig at a place is such a wonderful thing for a musician. After the first month or so, all the little details about loading equipment, parking, setting up, etc. become ironed out and it allows you to focus more on the music. I try every time I play there to get something new out of it. This last time we played it was packed, and we got applause after almost every peice. People were also coming up with requests, which means they are interested. I guess that matters, although it really shouldn't. There is something about the confirmation that someone is listening that helps me to dig a little deeper and focus on making each song a unique and pleasant experience. Now that I think of it, when the place is empty, I like to experiment with different feels, wilder drum solos, and different interactions with Scott and Paul. I guess that is a different kind of digging in. Exploration.
Saturday was packed with lessons, 9:30-5:30 with just one 1/2 hour break. I love it though. I feel very fortunate to have the students I have. The day is also broken up by different kinds of lessons. Drumset, frame drum, tabla, guitar, concert snare, bells, and even a music theory lesson. I love it. On my way home I remembered hearing that the Jazz band from school was getting together at my friend Ben's house to rehearse for an upcoming show, so I decided to stop by and check it out. I sat down with my Djembe and played with them as they ran their peices. Once that was over we were all trading instruments and playing away for hours. When I got home I was tired, but very satisfied.

Thanks for reading,

John

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