During my years of schooling I received ‘formal’ training in the recorder, piano, and clarinet, but my main musical focus has now gravitated towards instruments that I’ve learned (and am still learning) to play without any external instruction – namely guitar and percussion. With the guitar, the initial foundation of my playing was blues and folk. From that starting point I’ve come to incorporate melodic patterns from around the globe into the creative process.
Right now I tend to find that my instinct when picking up a guitar is to lean towards african and latin/iberian styles – but caribbean, middle-eastern, gypsy jazz, and indian influences can also come to the fore. Djembe and darbuka (turkish) drums are what I play most often in terms of percussion – with african, latin (clave), and middle-eastern rhythmic patterns as my ‘base’ – but I’ll also tap away on anything else that may come to hand!
No matter which instrument is being played, I think it’s important to ‘listen’ the ambiance of the environment and to let it feed into to the melodies and rhythms being produced. Having said that, it can on occasion be difficult to know ‘where to go’ – sometimes calmness needs a spark of vitality, and sometimes expansive expression needs to rest back into serenity. But creativity is an organic, evolving process – and we learn as we go along.
I’m happy to collaborate musically with other people, and to ‘go with’ whatever may arise as part of the process – it’s wonderful when spontaneity expands one’s horizons.
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