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September 23

Zimbamoto

Respect Fest
Vernon,BC
2-3:15pm
Free!


 

September 19, 2017
Summer Heats Up

Whoops....it happened again. Several months and nothing here. Not for being lazy mind you, just too busy with other stuff to think about being here. Like enjoying the summer, traveling, playing, enjoying my family, and recording the debut Zimbamoto album!!! It soiunds amazing thus far, is not even mixed yet and I'm super proud to be playing on it and producing it. Release party will be November 23 at the WISE Hall. Mark the date.

In other news, I'm slowly getting back into the world of academia and writing after taking off what seems like several months. It's hard.

Not many gigs this Fall it seems, not where my mind is at, trying to schedule and make some. Adanu Habobo is taking a little breather for the Fall and I have one interesting kind of world/classical thing coming up in October with a visiting artists from Poland. More on that on the sidebar of gigs.

Ok, back to writing this conference presentation.


July 13, 2017
Summer Heats Up

Oh my, I forgot to mention so many things that are happening in July...oops! Not the least of which was an awesome Vancouver jazz festival gig with my group. Awesome bunch of players, and happy to have best bud Pat Boyle holding it down on the bass this time.

One major thing on the go is Zimbamoto'sdebut album!!! We are scheduled to hit the studio on July 28-30 for the initial tracking and will do subsequent overdubs later. Hope to release it in November. We are also doing some crowdfunding to help complete it. Luckily, we were recipients of some funding from the BC gov (via Creative BC and the BC Music Fund). Our Indigogo campaign is HERE

Please share it around the web!!!

So much more happening over the summer. I've been subbing with Locarno and the BC World Music Collective, which has been great fun. We bought a tent and went camping as a family for the first time, which was a success! And I've been slowly upgrading my drumset instead of buying a new one. I'm convinced that what the music instrument manufacturers are selling us is a lie. We don't need $2000 snare drums. A drum is a drum IMO, and with some care and knowledge, any drum can sound decent enough. Cymbals on the other hand...a diffeernt story.

July will see me in BC for the most part but August will be a return back to Newfoundland...will be a time for sure.


June 13, 2017
The Lure...

I've been playing music on a stage for a number of years now and one thing that has always mystified myself and my partners in presenting live music is what makes an audience member leave their home to come out and watch you perform.

Everyone has their own theory I'm sure, and thousands (no, millions) are spent on promotional efforts and advertising for various concerts everyday. Yet, I'm sensing some kind of lethargy or apathy among the "audience". It seems harder and harder to simply get people out of their house and into a seat (or floorspace) at a show. Almost any kind of entertainment is at everyone's fingertips with the internet being what it is today. And it almost everyone is mediating their lives and experiences through a digital means in what appears to me to be an unhealthy proportion.

This was all brought home to me very recently during a couple of concerts I did last week. A well-known organization presented and promoted these concerts. The line-up and programming was unique and of high calibre in my opinion, not too mention being somewhat rare for this city. And some amount of money and effort was spent on promotion. Yet for both concerts, the total audience attendance may have been about 40 people. Yes, 4-T, Forty, Four-Zero.

Maybe it was the timing, maybe people had no money for mid-week entertainment, maybe they were tired from a day of work. Whatever it was, it amazed me that in a city of this size, with a seemingly diverse and cosmopolitan taste, that an event such as the one I was part of fared so poorly in terms of attendance.

At least the music came out great and we had fun. But it makes me wonder about the future of live performance that is not U2, a band that sells beer in a bar, or the next "IT" sound.

There will always be someone who will come out to see live performance, but I must ask the question, is live music, as we have known it for the past several decades, dying?


May 29, 2017
Music & Friends

Music is truly one of the great forces of unity in the universe.

I just spent the past weekend among what were strangers to begin with but we ended up making some beautiful music and good vibrations together, and many laughs. I guess that happens when you spend an intense number of hours with people, but more is at play. "Musicking" with others creates connections that go beyond quotidian interactions and verbal exchanges. Something larger is being shared amongst the participants. I thank Malavika for inviting me to be a part of her bharatantayam team for the 2 performances we did and look forward to working with them all again.

I was also pleasantly suprised to know about the vibrant South Indian arts scene in Edmonton (who would have thought?!?!) and met some other artists there as well, including Ashwin Iyer, of the "Toronto Brothers" Carnatic singing duo, who seems to be one of the driving forces for promoting Carnatic music in that area. Here's to hoping more collaborations may come in the future, either there or here in Vancouver.


May 25, 2017
More Rhythm

The VanAfrica production was succesfull on all fronts and a great learning experience. I hope more can be done with that ensemble in the future. Should get some good video from the show as well which I'll post eventually.

Short notice on this one but I'm happy and honoured to be traveling to Edmonton in a day to perform with an established Bharatanatyam company based out of Calgary/Edmonton, that of Malavika Venkatsubbaiah's Natyam Academy. We will performing on two nights during the Thousand Faces Festival

See the poster below or visit the website for more info.

Then in June the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra (VICO) will be having their Global Soundscapes Festival: Hands On! - Celebrating intercultural percussion music. I'm honoured to be included in this. I will be participating in several ways, inlcuding two performances and a workshop and even a lec-dem on South Indian drumming (on May 30 at the VPL). I'll post more details on the left or visit the festival website for full details: Global Soundscapes Festival


May 9, 2017
Some Other Things...

My apologies to Ken Shorely.

He's doing a yeoman service to percussion in Canada in many ways, not the least of which is a series of video interviews with a varied bunch of artists, myself included. Here is an interview he did with me last year when we met in St. John's, NL for the Sound Symposium.


May 5, 2017
5th Decade

I turned 40 on May 2.

A big deal? For some. I feel no different. If anything, I still feel like the youngest person in the room at times. A state of mind. Maybe a product of my experience (I'm usually younger than everyone around me it seems). Or maybe I just don't engage with the fact that I have in fact been alive this long and have had some profound experiences. That is, I am nearing the "middle-age".

Whatever the age/number, I still approach life in the same way. With an open heart and mind, always cognizant that I know very little about what is going, and there is always something beyond what we have been taught, what we experience, and what we think we know.

Stay humble y'all.

Speaking of which, I just returned from an amazing month in Ghana. The shortest I've ever been there (couldn't bear to be away from my baby any longer) which made it that much more intense. I'm developing my relationships with various spiritualists deeper, gaining more insight and experience into that world, philosophy, and reality that is vodu. And filling my boots with more info for my dissertation. Oh, if I only had a few more lives to lead. The more I learn the more I know how much I don't know.

Now I'm back here and working towards some concerts, especially the upcoming VanAfrica concerts. A pleasure to work with some of these explosive artists. Do check it out if you are in Vancouver on May 11th or 12th.


March 1, 2017
Approaching 1/3rd

Wow, March 1 already. I guess I better get cracking on this dissertation...hahaha.

Well, I don't have to finish for another couple of years, but it is good to stay engaged, which is why my advisor has requested I present some semblence of a chapter before April, when I head to Ghana for a month of fieldwork (perhaps my final before I graduate). Been spending the last month going over data collected from my 2015 visit. The next few weeks I'll sculpt it in to something prose-like.....so easy to get distracted though.

Baby Leela (more like toddler Leela) is the best distraction ever. Amazing to watch her grow and express herself. I am NOT looking forward to being away for a month (the longest yet gap yet). ;'-(

This month I'm not doing many gigs but am doing two great things, a chamber Carnatic concert, and the day after a dance concert. When it rains it pours I guess. These kind of recitals are so rare in this city (and in my life). I'm so blessed to able to partake in them and have the experience. See details on the left or under the Music section.

Ok.....back to the work.


January 17, 2017
Another Spin Around The Sun

Let's see what 2017 brings. Change no doubt. Though I doubt the lack of time I spend writing here will change. If anything, I'm trying to lessen my time in front of a computer. So much of our waking hours are slowly but surely being sucked out of activity and interaction, instead into blank stares, stiff bodies, and furrowed brows by the light of a glowing screen (both large and small). Where will this lead?

My one goal is to spend at least as much time on a musical instrument as on a computer. And even more time with my daughter while she is awake.

There are a number of musical activities happening for me in Jan and Feb, though none of these come without the aforementioned necessary screen-time to organize those events. The life of the independent artist.

These two are worthy and cool events:


October 27, 2016
Vodu comes to Surrey

I have a lot to do with this:


October 10, 2016
Thanks to Give

Before I begin, I have to say I have no time for this (this, what I am doing right now). There is so much else to life than putting a few words here periodically. Hence the extended periodic nature of my input in this context.

That said, today is Thanksgiving and there is always something to be thankful for. Though I'm nursing a lower back muscle spasm for the last 7 days, I'm generally in pretty good health, which is something one should never take for granted. Health and mobility are blessings for all of us, so if you have them, cherish them.

Of course, I'm especially thankful for my wonderful family, both near and far. If you have that, consider yourself blessed.

And musically, while we all wish for something grander than what we have, I'm pretty lucky to do what I do with the people I do it with. Fuck lofty ambitions, notions of fame and all those illusions. I'm blessed to have some truly great musical souls in my circle that I get to explore with on a regular basis.


August 26, 2016
Developing Developments

I'm happy to let you all know about a worthy initiative happening in Dagabmete (the location of my PhD research and the first village I ever visited in Ghana). The village has built a great health clinic and needs to provide the hospital equipment before the government will get involved and pay nurses and doctors. Luckily, the Queen Mother, Mama Adzorhlor III (aka Aku Dunyo Richter) has done amazing work in bringing this to reality. Visit this page to contribute and learn more.

If one is still interested in developing rural Ghana, you can also visit my own Dzogadze Education Development Foundation page and see the work we have been doing.

Every little bit helps in this endeavours. And 99% of the money donated goes where it is needed, not to any salaries, office expenses, etc.

Grassroots y'all!!!


July 2, 2016
Midnight Sun

Just spent a week in the Yukon. Wow. So much beauty in Canada. And surreality. Daylight for about 20hrs and the remaining 4 were something akin to dusk. Next I want to be there for Winter Solstice. All darkness, all the time.

Now summer is under way I suppose. Sound Symposium is coming up in St. John's, NL where I'll be from July 8-18 with Zimbamoto. Check that out if on the Rock, a musical celebration like none other.

My comprehensive exams as part of my PhD at UBC were completed in early June. Now I can relax a little, no major tasks towards that for a few months, but I am busy preparing for a symposium on African Indigenous Knowledge coming off on Sep.9/10 which I'm spearheading with Dr. Kofi Gbolonyo (with the assistance of a SSHRC grant via my advisor Dr. Michael Tenzer). More on that later.

But for now, I'm enjoying my daughter as much as possible as she keeps it all in perspective.


May 4, 2016
This Was Awesome.....


Feb.25, 2016
A Great Tree Has Fallen

R.I.P Simeon "Pop" Dean (Feb.16,1924 - Feb.19,2016)

son, husband, brother, uncle, father, grandfather (to me), great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather and friend and inspiration to many.


Oct.3, 2015
Greatest Creation

A child is born. Life will never be the same. All else pales in comparison.

Shantaleela Rosana Rao Andrews. 2:02pm, September 2, 2015.


August 19, 2015
Priorities

My oh my. Months without updating. Bigger things on my plate, like a baby soon to be born!!!


June 23, 2015
Shorter Days

I guess summer is now beginning to bloom all over this hemisphere. I just came back from a "pre-Solstice" journey to the Big Island of Hawai'i....a truer paradise on Earth is harder to find. Perhaps the last journey my wife and I will have before welcoming our daughter into the world this Septmeber. That is a whole other kind of journey!! Hawai'i has everything one could ask for just about: perfect temperature, amazing landcapes, oceans, snorkeling off the beach, mangoes that fall from the trees on the roadside for you to eat (after washing), lush, lush, lush and a laid-back vibe (is there any other choice?). If I ever get some $$, I'd buy a house there in a flash.

Other than that the summer is looking kinda slow, might give me time to prepare mentally for what comes in the Fall. In some shitty news, I did not get some fellowships I was hoping for. Somewhat devastating at first, with the prospect of a LOT less income coming my way whilst beng a grad student...wind kinda went out of my sails a bit. We'll see how that journey goes..not doing much acdemically over the summer and am gonna start studying for comprehensive exams in the Fall...the next big step in this PhD affair.

Musically not much new on the horizon, doing some home recording with Kurai Mubaiwa which is fun, mixing the recordings for the Apetorku Gbodzi CD today, and will do some namasankirtanam type of activities with a great singer I met recently from Chennai who started his own Hanuman temple in Surrey. A few gigs over the summer with Zhambai and Tarab too (Hazem Matar is visiting for a month in July). Keep watching the side bar.


May 19, 2015
Summer's Eve

Mission accomplished in Ghana. Though I had a short 5 weeks there, I managed to do about 85% of the tasks I had on my mental list. A good amount of fieldwork, numerous interviews, recordings, songs, and most interestingly, a commercial recording was made of Agbodzi (shrine) songs using some equipment I took along with me. I'll mix/edit it very soon and send back to Ghana for duplication and release. Also made some new acquaintances with a Zangbeto hunor who I saw buried alive one day in Dagbamete. That's a different story though which I might post on the Ghana page.

Have settled back into life here though I still havent' fully unpacked, always takes me awhile.

This past weekend I had the great fortune to play for a Bharatanatyam dancer. A challenge and learning experience which I have not felt in awhile. Lots to remember, to accent, to interact with. Very different than playuing for concerts. And got to meet a great bunch of new artists who were visiting, especially Puneet and Taniya Panda. Sujit Vaidya, the dancer, did wonderfully. I hope Vancouver can support more live dance/music like this.


April 15, 2015
Drums, Dancing, Sweat

Been in Ghana for about 2.5 weeks now. Hit the ground running, straight from the airport to a wake-keeping for an old friend of mine who was a chief. That went on till the next day....and continued with his funeral and still more drumming in the evening. With that over it was the Apetorku fetatrortror festival which lasted for 10 days, saw a few thousand extra people descend on Dagbamete and a WHOLE lot of blood, palm oil, and spirit flowing. Everyone is was in some kind of extended sleep deprived, alcohol and music entrenched haze as there were nightly wake-keepings at the shrine. A thing of beauty. Feelings of togetherness and joy that are hard to beat.

Still about 2.5 weeks left. Trying to do lots of interviews, stay healthy, have some drumming lessons, get to the bottom of some of these ritual-music connections, and avoid the mosquitoes.


March 3, 2015
Ghana On The Horizon

Well, just a few more weeks and I'll be on a plane once again, heading back to Ghana for a very short month of research (March 26-May 2). I'm going to be quite focused in fact - spend most time in Dagabamate, interviewing heads of the Apetorku Shrine, recording during the festival and perhaps organize some dedicated recording sessions of that music/song/drumming, and of course take some further lessons on the various repertoires that are employed there. It is music I have been hearing for over 15 years but only recently have I really started to listen to it.

Just dropped about $1000 on some recording and video gear as well, so I better make use of it!!

School has been well this term, timewise not too demanding but reading a book each week and creating a thoughtful summary from an ethno point of view has been a task enough. Great course in ethnography it is. Add to this various gigs and rehearsals and now planning for the summer/festivals and some upcoming grant deadlines and it feels like there is not enough time in the day.

In completely different news I have started going to the gym!! Yep, never thought I write those words. Why you may ask? Well, my metabolism is not exactly speeding up and my eating habits are the same. I'm basically trying to enjoy my life as I always have gastronomically, but mitigate the ever expanding mid section, which can be the harbinger of other woes to one's health. So why not nip it in the bud or at least keep it at bay?

I'm definitely the odd one out. Feels that way at least!


Jan. 15, 2015
Here We Go Again...

Jeez. Poor website. You get little love from me for months on end! And for the very few who read this from time to time, sorry for the silence. Not much gets said here anyhow. I can't be bothered posting life advice or media content to keep you coming back..I've got too much else to do in life.

Lots of happenings since Oct.12, 2014. Played a great Carnatic concert in late October, Adanu had a super concert in late November, and I finished my 3rd term of grad school. December was spent mostly in India, a week on Neil Island with no electronic at all (what a treat) and my days spent snorkelling, eating coconuts, and riding a bicycle around the tiny island. Then 2 weeks in Chennai during the peak of the December season, following my guru around and geeting my rhythmic consciousness expanded regularly. Always an experience. Also had a chance to play a New Year's show with good ol' Pancho and Sal (Rio Samaya Band) in Goa and spend a couple of days lounging with them in a hammock.

Now back in Vancouver, killed by jetlag ( a week later I may be getting back to normal) and got the news that I have offically been enrolled in the PhD program at UBC, thereby skipping the MA section!!! Soon to the comps (oh dear). I've got to get down to business soon and start some transcribing and analyzing some of my recordings. Also start a clear research plan for my next trips to Ghana. This all seems to be happening so fast! Where will it end? Who knows. Step-by-step.


Oct. 12, 2014
Into The Throes

Wow. I was just in Toronto on a whirlwind trip to play a show with Lapis at the newly opened Aga Khan
museum. The impression it made on me is still lingering. Th architecture, iconography, and of course, the collection of the museum itself are fascinating. Items that span the Islamic world from Spain to China from 6th century AD through present. I only had an hour to go through but enjoyed it all the same. If you are in TO, do yourself a favor and visit. Some of the paintings, wow..... simply no words to express. And the architecture inside was so aesthetically pleasing, very symmetrical and at times acoustically rich.

Lapis was performing in the auditorium in the museum, which programs a healthy performance series of varied and noteworthy artists, I was honored be among those that have performed. The organization itself treats artists quite well and sincerely appreciates our presence, which is a nice change from the normal circumstances and trials that musicians go through. I hope I can perform there again in the future.

Now I'm back in Vancouver, working on some school work, papers and the like. But lots of musical activities on the horizon as well, some of which are noted on this site.Speaking of music, for those interested in Carnatic music, TM Krishna, one of the leading voices in that musical realm will actually be giving a lecture/demonstration on Nov.16 in Surrey!


Sep.6, 2014
Falling Together

A new season (has it begun?). One can feel Summer disappear, best make the most of what is left before Fall arrives with its own rhythm and feeling. I like it though, always a new energy in Fall, many new beginnings. For me, my second year of school which I'm taking head on. A busy September with some writing deadlines and then a busy October with numerous gigs, including a number of South Indian events which I'm looking forward to. And cooking, always cooking. Been on an Ethiopian kick lately, but some flavours elude me....can't beat Harambe on Commercial Drive! My salted fish should arrive from Newfoundland whenever someone is coming this way from there as well.
Kofi Golonyo made is back from Ghana and we'll be doing more, including a big show with Adanu Habobo on Nov.29 at the Roundhouse. Promises to be something great with traditional rhythms from Zimbabwe and Ghana and a nice horn section to augment the whole show. Some public participation on that one as well. Maybe a Zimbamoto album?

Stay tuned.


July 24, 2014
Coast to Coast...again

Well, I can't complain. I had quite a time at the Sound Symposium a couple of weeks ago. The highlight was indeed getting to play with kora master Boujou Cissoko and my buddy Pat Boyle on trumpet. Played a house concert, did a workshop and then killed it at one of the evening concerts. Hope to do more with that trio. Should have some video ready from that soon. As usual, I got to meet a number of amazing and diverse artists including Bill Horist, Bart Hopkin and my personal fav, John Kameel Farah. I met John about 7 years ago in TO and have been advocating for him to come to the Sound Symposium for years....finally! He did not disappoint. The best was a solo concert he did on a pipe organ in a church. I only got to see 15mins of his 40min set (soundcheck beckoned!), but from that 15mins alone, I was changed. It was a healing experience of sorts, very hard to describe but he was taking us on a journey for sure. Plus the sheer physical impact of a pipe organ is something to behold.

Got to see a few friends and family but not enough time as usual. Luckily, I'll be heading back in a week or so to play at the Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival, this time with my good brother Kurai Mubaiwa. He's been there back in 2010 (at Sound Symposium) and LOVES it there. Who deosn't really? I hope to get a day out on the water if possible and get some codfish to bring back to Vancouver with me. Maybe blueberries will be ready too!

Summer has been busy thus far with some travel and playing, but I'm striving to find some time to enjoy the nature that surrounds me. I encourage you to do the same wherever you are.


June 29, 2014
Good Things Coming

Man o man o man o man! I guess I've been too busy for this little piece of cyberspace. Returned from Ghana about 4 weeks ago. Amazing time as always. I wrote a little missive about it which you could have read if you were on my mailinglist, so please feel free to join it by sending me a note saying so! Made a lot of headway in terms of research towards my graduate school and was lucky to visit Agbomey (Benin) once again to taste some of that sweet, sweet music that they play over there. Some of the deepest polyrhythmic grooves you'll find anywhere.

My 1st year of my MA is 85% done, just have a major research paper to revise and submit by summer's end. The grad school experience is a journey, one I will be on for a few more years. But I'll do it my way as much as I can and make it fulfilling for myself. The key is to enjoy what you are focusing your efforts upon. I was lucky to receive a nice SSHRC fellowship which was encouraging and will help with my costs of being a student.

Beyond all the school, I'm still playing lots of music (thankfully). Busy with Zimbamoto
here and there and will play a few festivals over the coming months here in BC And praise the Gods I'll be returning to Newfoundland not once but TWICE this summer! In July for the always inspiring Sound Symposium where I'll play a couple of concerts with my newest musical friend, Boujou Badialy Cissoko.He is the real deal in terms of kora playing and we have been developing a nice rapport. Good ol' Paddy Boyle will be joining us for those concerts. Then again in August the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival will fly my mbira buddy Kurai Mubaiwa and myself back to play at their event. Kurai LOVES NL so it will be good to have him there again. Pat will join us for this gig as well. Hopefully the blueberries will be ready in August and some icebergs and whales will be there in July. Do I need to say how awesome NL can be in the summer months?

Ok, that's enough for today. I'm gonna go see if I can convince my wife to watch an episode of The Treme (Google it!)


Feb.24, 2014
Like Bananas

"Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flys like bananas"

Time is an eternal mystery, this I know. And our perception of it is at the foundation of this enigma.

When younger, time would drag on, traveling seemed to take forever, the days leading up to Saturday morning and your cartoons were an eternity. Now, older and busier, time seems to fly like nothing else. February is already nearly over and it seems like I don't have enough time to do all that needs doing.

I just came from my first academic conference in Seattle where I presented a paper on Carnatic rhythmic calculation/thought. Was a good experience overall. Have another one this weekend at UBC on a different topic altogether....still needs to be written!! Plus a 40+ page project in process, another major term paper for another class, plus readings, grant deadlines, applications for this and that. All of this on top of rehearsing, gigging and trying to plan gigs for the summer. All has to be done by Apil 5 when I take off for Maui and the Ghana until May 31!

Somehow, I'll find the time.

In other news, the first Offering gig of 2014 is coming up. Glad to have Dave Spidel on bass and good vibes. We'll be trying out one of my tracks that I never play live, the percussion/rhythm heavy "Olive Ridley's Lament"...check it out on my music page.


Jan.14, 2014
And it begins

January started slow, I thought I could relax for a spell. Well that dream is over with no shortage of things keeping me busy now. Gigs of various sorts, meeting new musicians and maybe starting new projects (should I be doing this?), preparing papers for a conference, trying to organize and apply for festivals in the summer, planning a trip to Ghana in April and so on.
And now I might be doing a major independent project on top of the rest of my classes!! Anyhow, I asked for it.

One major event is coming up on Feb.8 and will be featuring Adanu Habobo, Zhambai Trio, kora master Boujou Cissoko and Guinean guitar phenom Alpha Yaya Diallo. If that weren't enough, my good ol' buddy Awal Alhassan will be joing Adanu as well as a 4-piece horn section!!!


Dec.20, 2013
Turning of the Year

First term done.

Time manangement seems to be the biggest challenge and I have a bit of hold on it now. Excited to start the 2nd term and see how it all unfolds. In Newfoundland now after being in frozen Ottawa (-31 with windchill!!!) for a spell. Respect to the Inuit folks. Newfoundland to has a bit of snow, even Vancouver so I am told. Tis' winter after all. Been laying low here on The Rock, hanging with the family, decorsting the tree, try and see some friends when I can. Have a couple of gigs too which will be fun, especially on th 23rd with Pat Boyle on bass!

Fly back to Van on Dec.31 for New Year's and the 2014 hits.

2014 will be another revolution. No resolutions really. Just keeping on living, learning, loving, sharing and giving. And of course, more music.

Hope yours is as good as it can be.


Oct.22, 2013
My Brain is Bigger

Alright then.

Nearly 2 months later and I here I am. What changes…my God. Being back in school IS quite an adjustment for me. I’m used to a lazy, free kind of life with little commitments (beyond what I create for myself) and no deadlines (save for the random grant deadline a couple times a year). But now in Grad school I’m having to do readings, assignments and research papers!! Being evaluated (with numbers/grades) is kind of weird too. Is it even necessary at the graduate level?
All that said, I’m managing well and learning LOTS about a range of things in the Ethnomusicological world and beyond and can feel my brain expanding and using powers of concentration that were long dormant (or put towards musical things I guess). Many thoughts about the future and where this will all lead me and what impact I can have.

But I keep making music. How can one stop? Have been busy with Lapis and hope we can get some funding to record. Did a great gig with my trio Sancharam at UBC which was well received and have more things coming up with Zimbamoto, Adanu Habobo, Lapis and Tarab. Should I slow down?

Naaah.

I gotta play, I can’t only be an academic…it is unbalanced to me, especially if one is an academic focused on music. Isn’t the music what is most important (some will debate of course). As with most of my life, I see myself on the periphery of the mainstream so I’m curious how I’ll integrate with this world.

Speaking of which, I have reading to do!!


August 30, 2013
The Big Smoke, The Rock and Blueberries

Well, well, well. What to say. The last while has been a whirlwind. 2 weeks in Toronto to strengthen ties with friends old and new, spend some quality time with my guru Trichy Sankaran (who never ceases to amaze with his wisdom, generosity and overall greatness) and saw some superb music, ranging from some futuristic neo-soul from Australia (Hiatus Kayote), hardcore (Phil Anselmo) and heaviest of heavy, Black Sabbath!!!!!

For the last while I've been in St. John's, NL with a few jaunts out "around the bay". Managed to pick some chanterelle mushrooms (without meaning to find them) and will soon go pick a whack of blueberries to bring back to Vancouver. If you don't know, Newfoundland is basically covered in blueberry bushes and they are in bloom this time of year. Just go into any patch of land off the highway, walk and eventually you'll hit some bushes. Sweetest berries ever.

Of course, playing a tonne of music while here, eventhough I only planned on doing 3 shows, it seems like I'll have done about 7 or 8 before I head back to Vancouver next week.
Speaking of which, my life will go into a different mode very soon when I enter school again. Exciting times!!

July 23, 2013
Summer Fun

So much good weather here in Vancouver these days, why spend it on a computer inside? Been hitting the beach as much as I can (but not to swim, too cold for me) and spending a lot of time in my hammock on our balcony.

Good times.

Had a whirlwind of different gigs recently too and had a great experience teaching at a 5 day summer jazz camp operated by my friend Jared Burrows. Was quite rewarding to see the participants develop over such a short period of time.
Now preparing for a couple fo Zimbamoto/Zhambai Trio shows and especially looking forward to having Antuan Nunez from Cuba (now living in Vancouver) play some tres with us at the Mission Folk Festival gig!! He recently moved here and I'm trying to bring him out to different jams when I can, great musician.
Also gearing up for my visit to TO (Aug.4-17) to see my guru and some friends and then 2 weeks in Newfoundland (Aug.17-Sep.5). Sooooo looking forward to that trip. Might even get some cod-jigging in if lucky. Hopefully the blueberries will be in season too!!
And then my big change in life, returning to school in September at UBC. Got my courses registered, some books bought and now must prepare for a slight change in lifestyle!!

All good though.


June 14, 2013
The Road Ahead

So today I registered for most of my courses for my graduate school journey to start in Spetember. Feels very real now. Will be an interesting time and I do believe I'll thrive...I have a lot to share and explore. My biggest problem is choosing what NOT to focus on since I have done so much over the past 12 years since leaving school.

Other than that the last month has been a process of settling in. After I arrived back from Ghana my parents came to visit and enjoy Vancouver (and me too of course). Since they left I have been struggling to even just organize my house and life! Been playing some cool shows and met some interesting new musicians. I think I'll be having some tough choices to make regarding time/energy management come September. Though in school I'll still need to play!!!

Upcoming are some interesting shows and one new group I have joined is called "Lapis" with Rup Sidhu and Mohamed Assani. We played a cool set recenty fusing beatboxing, beats, sitar, rhymes, mridangam, mbira, kanjira and ghatam (!!!). More to come from that group.


May 17, 2013
Back in the West

An amazing 2 months in West Africa. Lots to share...need some time to get it together..stay tuned.


March 14, 2013
6 Months Around The World + $50,000???

So my wife has entered this very interesting contest where you make a video, write a blogpost and basically make a case for why you derserve an all-expenses paid trip for 6 months on 6 continents and at the end you get $50,000!!!

????

Yes, it is true. You can view her entry and vote too by clicking below!
Vote for me


March 3, 2013
Raising Some Funds For Ghana

Mark it down folks, March 17 I'll be involved in and organizing the first fundraiser in Vancouver, for the work I have been doing in Ghana since 2007. It will indeed be a warm and fuzzy evening with some great music as well featuring Zimbamoto, Tarab, Rio Samaya Band, Mezcla and the premier of ADANU HABOBO, a Ghanaian traditional drum/dance ensemble that is being led by myself and Dr. J.S. Kofi Gbolonyo.

Here is a FACEBOOK PAGE

The proceeds from this fundraiser will go towards the work that I have been doing as well as school project that Kofi has been undertaking in Ghana for the past several years. My own project has been detailed on this website and you can know more by clicking on the DZOGADZE FUND button on the top-right of the page. Kofi's project - GHANA SCHOOL PROJECT is essentially a free music school for children in his hometown, both traditional and Western music.
This is a great cause and 100% of the money raised goes straight into the work being done, none of it for administrative fees, promo, office space etc.
Please spread the word to your friends and network.

Also know that tax-deductible donations are accepted for the Dzogadze Education Development Foundation , via an elementary school we have partnered with in Newfoundland who processes the receipts.


Feb.14, 2013
Love Is All Around

Valentine's Day it is!! I think the only time I've ever really "celebrated" this day was in elementary school when we made/bought cards and gave them to our classmates. Nowadays, love is everyday all the time no?

For me anyways.

Been a good year so far, the Language of Rhythm Project (L.O.R.) is under way and still workshops left with that project. Our final cocert will be March 21 on the International Day for the Elimination of Racism. More info about all of that is on the Public Dreams website which is HERE.

In a couple of days my Sangati concert will happen. A bit of buzz surrounding it which is great and I am really looking forward to make this effort come to fruition. Been rehearsing lots with Jared and Colin to get my original pieces up to speed and they sound great. Will be a treat to play with Vidyasagar and Prabha as usual and excited to introduce Karthigha to Vancouver audiences as well.

Also be on the lookout for the Adanu Habobo debut concert on March 17! It will happen during a fundraiser that Kofi Gbolonyo and I are organizing in support of the work we both do in Ghana. A Facebook page is here: HERE.

Besides all this, lots of other cool things happening. Had an AMAZING show with Tarab at Cafe Deux Soleils on Saturday past and look forward to doing more with that group. And soon, I'll be off to Ghana!!! (March 25-May14)


Jan.23, 2013
52 Years

Well then, I guess the experts were wrong , Dec.21, 2012 did not end the world. But according to the Mayans, something did end (and something else began again). This I heard from a Mayan man himself at a Mayan city of old in Mexico recently. Quite fascinating the Mayan reckoning of time, cycles, life and their calculations/numbering system.
And an awesome environment too of course :-) Anu and I spent 2 weeks in the Yucatan, snorkeling, swimming in the ocean and in cenotes (freshwater underground water systems!!) and eating LOTS of tortillas. Before that was in Ottawa and NL visiting family and enjoying the holiday season.

2013....doing some cool things already including this LOR project which sees me and 7 other Vancouver artists (other drummers, First Nations singers, beatbox/rapper) coming together to create some new music based on our love and understanding of rhythm. A series of workshops too. Check the details on the left. Most exciting to me is my concert on Feb.16 with some great South Indian musicians including Vidyasagar Vankayala (voice), Karthiga Parmeswaran (veena), Prabha Sivaratnam (violin), Jared Burrows (guitar) and Colin Maskell (sax/flute). Yours truly on the mridangam. Do make it if you can...we don't get a chance to produce music in a setting like the Western Front very often.

Not sure what else 2013 will bring..no major plans besides those things thus far. No tour plans, no festivals booked. Who knows where I'll end up. For sure I know I'll be in Ghana from March 25-May 17 and still have room for people on my Ghana trip. Hope to get deeper into some Guruni music in Northern Ghana and hopefully back to Benin as well for more Fon music styles and life.

And finally, I've submitted my UBC grad school application so my life may begin to become a whole lot different!


Dec.14, 2012
Yuletide Times

Well, I'm not sure what happened to November really, but here we are in mid-December. In Ottawa now visiting Anu's family which is fun. Playing indoor living room hockey and soccer, doing puzzles, being lazy, seeing bits of Ottawa....which is actually kind of a nice little city. In a couple of days we'll head further east and spend 13 days back on the Rock which will very welcomed. Get to see Pop, my family, friends and play a couple of shows. I've decided to not actively book to many things in there because the time is so short and there are many people to see and be with.

The Ship gig on Dec.27 will be especially fun and I hope to see some friends there, it might be the only chance I'll get to see some people in fact. Have a new piece written called "A Frayed Knot" which was intended to be simple to play and learn, but ended up being something completely different!
Dec.29 will be an afternoon, family-friendly gig at the foyer of the Arts & Culture Centre being organized by the Sound Symposium. Will feature some Scruncheons, Dzolali, Black Auks and much more. Always a good time!

Dec.31 Anu and I will take a little side trip to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico(!!). Flights were pretty cheap from NL-Mexico-Vancouver so we bit the bullet. Will spend most time in small town called Xcalak, visit Tulum a bit, do some snorkeling, get vitamin D and see some Mayan ruins!

Finally, I have a friend in need. Diane Smithers is a great photographer and has run into some serious hurdles with gear being stolen (cameras, lenses, hard drives) as well as cash. She has set up an fundraising campaign to get back on track. The link to her site is HERE.


October 29, 2012
No Tricking, But Some Treats!

Wow.

A month on the road is no joke. The tour was quite intense overall, but also quite comfortable and well-organized. Perhaps the best I have ever been on. But in the end, I think touring is not my preferred way to make money or music. It is great to be able to travel the world and play music of course, I am very lucky to do that. But as a preferred means, I'd like to stay local. On tour, you don't really get much chance to do much besides see your hotel, your car, your venue and then your hotel. It is hard to think about life outside of the tour either and as for "seeing" the world, it is usually through the window of whatever mode of transportation you have.

That said, I'll still probably do some kind of tours again in the future, but will be more careful about how long they are and what they entail. I have been back for a week exactly and that is about how long it has taken for my life to return to some kind of normal. I had immense physical and some emotional pain to go through upon coming back home, as if everything I was going through during the tour was being absorbed so I could just get through it. Day after I got home I hurt in places I didn't know I had pain during the past 28 days!!! Good ol' adrenaline. That said, today I bought a pass for my local pool/rec-centre...not to swim, but to enjoy the awesome hot whirlpool and sauna!!!

Am now thinking of the immediate future and some gigs, rehearsals and plans for the rest of the year. Am also thinking of buying my tcket to Ghana ASAP because they are SUPER cheap on the Delta Airlines website. I have some interest for my trip but so far not many "confirmations", though that deadline is not until Jan 2013.

Oct.13, 2012
Deutscheland Uber Alles?....not really

Don't get me wrong, Germany is pretty cool after being here for the first time. I've only ever really spent time in airports but for the last 16 days or so (and until Oct.22) I've been all over Germany, everyday a different place played music with Uzume Taiko. Hearing German all around me is kind of odd as it is an odd language to my ears. Culturally, this place is not all that strange to me, maybe the vast amount of meat and bread that is eaten is a shock to me (like most of Europe perhaps?)And the clear lack of "colour" in most times we visit.

But playing music I have decided, is not the best way to see a country. I much prefer visiting a place to study music, taking my own time, sticking around and absorbing what is arond me. The pace I am on is a different place everyday, different hotel, different venue. The music itself is the redeeming aspect. But that is only 15% of the day. But I am lucky and grateful I can make a living this way.

Not without some incidents though! In short.....Oktoberfest, several 1 litre beers, a 20 feet high stage, no ID/passport, a security, police station, a small bag of white powder (Vitamin C in fact!!) and then a free ride to the hotel by my new friends in uniform.

Not to mention an average speed of 200km/h (and at times 240!!!) on the autobahn.

Life moves fast over here.


August 24, 2012
Turn of the Seasons..

Summer is still trying to keep its face showing, but I can feel Fall in the air. All good though as Fall in Vancouver is pretty awesome anyhow.

Lots going on this Fall for sure. Of special note is the new Adanu Habobo which I am forming with Ghanaian drummer/dancer/teacher Dr. J.S. Kofi Gbolonyo. He has been here for 3 years and we have been trying to start a group and it is finally happening. This group will focus on the traditional music of Ghana, especially from the Ewe side as that is both our areas of expertise. We have a core of dancers and still need a few more drummers. Contact me if you or someone you know would fit in the group. They can come by and we can see how they do.

Besides that, there are a few nice shows coming up, especially Thursday Aug.30th with Rio Samaya band at Nuba. Last time was a blast, this will be too.

In some great news, Zhambai has been invited to showcase at Mundial MOntreal, a new world music showcase/event that happens in Montreal. We'll do it up in November, hopefully we get some funding!!
Speaking of funding, a few days ago I found out I got some for my "neo-Carnatic" concert which I'll probably do in January. More on that later.

Sunshine Music fest in Powell River coming up and hopefully some camping. Enjoy the outdoors whe you can!


August 3, 2012
Criss-Cross

Sin Jawns, Sin Jawns, St. John's.....never a dull moment when I get there these days. I was lucky to be there from June 30 (arrived 3:20am which set the tone for most of my evenings) and returned on July 24. The question is not what did I do but what did I NOT do. Tonnes of music at the jazz festival, Sound Symposium and more. So many friends, kites to fly, codfish to jig (yes, I went jigging with Paddy Boyle), family to hug and eat with, whales to watch.

St. John's in the summer is one pf the best places on Earth.

The Sound Symposium itself had so much for me this year. I had several friends from Toronto come down and stay for the duration of 6 days and I took them around in grand style, late nights and early morns at in the bars, seeing the sights, soaking in it all. Played some great shows, esp a duo show with my cohort Patrick Boyle with a tribute to the "Adorable" Adrian Adonis ( behind us a huge screen of his match with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper at Wrestlemania 3....epic indeed). Some time to hang and jam with the inimitable Jaron Freeman-Fox as well.

Though shorther than previous years, the SS for 2012 did have some redemming moments and allowed for a greater use of energy in such a short span. One of the highlights was driving out to Doctor's Cove on the edge of the land, hanging with my old friend Reuben "Beny" Esguerra (who is about to release an awesome spoken word/hip-hop/precussion album) and letting Gayle Young show us how to make lithophones from rocks we found at the water's edge. Truly amazing day in the sun.

Good to be back in Vancouver now and making things work. Playing some nice shows with Zimbamoto & Zhambai Trio in August, an interesting world fusion type of gig in September with a varied and talented cast and then in later September a tour to Germany with Uzume Taiko. One major thing that will be getting off the ground is a new West African drum/dance ensemble with my friends Kofi Gbolonyo. It will be called "Adanu Habobo" and will finally be an outlet for all the music from West Africa I have been keeping within myself. We'll see how it goes.

Speaking of dance... THIS FELLOW is in a word, amazing.

Enjoy!


June 28, 2012
To The East!!!

Man o man o man. No shortage of things to be at. Zhambai CD release went amazing. Bongo Love were great and Zimbamoto brought the heat. Probab;y the best Zhambai Trio show yet...great energy from the crowd who was there to dance share their love.
I've done most of the admin work and CDs have been sent, now just finished a FACTOR grant application for Zimbamoto...we shall see.

Anu's absence (she being up on Haida Gwaii looking at birds) was filled by the guys from Bongo Love. I had them all staying here for a few days I gotta say, they are some of the nicest dudes.

And open minded too.

Funny, kind and very modern fellows. It was very refreshing to be around them. Making me want to go back and visit Zimbabwe!
They'll be back in Vancouver aroud November so we'll plan to do another show with them and Zimbamoto.