||Monday, May 17 2004 @ 03:37 PM CDT
|| Neah Bay, WA USA
My parents were both music teachers, so playing instruments was mandatory in our house. I was started on the violin at the tender age of five. Since my father was the conductor of the school orchestra, I became the jack-of-all-trades for the group. By third grade I was switched to the cello, and then in sixth grade to the double-bass.
I spent my elementary years in a remote mountain town in India, where my parents taught. I didn't really hear more than snippets of any non-classical or non-Indian music until we moved to the US when I was 11. At 15 I discovered the guitar, and at the same time, the joy of writing my own songs.
Those early years I played in a hardcore band - this was the mid-eighties - and writing songs for that was so easy! Later I discovered reggae - mostly through listening to bands like the Clash. I thought I was in love; thought I had found the "real" music. My love affair with reggae persists, but in 1988 someone turned me on to Paul Simon's "Graceland." Oh. My. God. This was a true epiphany. My entire world turned upside down. I quickly moved from Simon to African music in general. The feeling I got the first time I heard Kanda Bongo Man, and then Thomas Mapfumo, I was shaken to my core. This music felt SO right to me. I couldn't understand the words, but the music spoke to me completely.
Since then, I've broadened my listening horizons a lot, but I still find African music of all kinds to speak most intimately to my musical soul.
In 1991, soon after the birth of my son, Seth, I formed a group called Baaba Seth in Virginia. The goal was to make original, funky music that was steeped in the sensibilities of African music. We had some regional success, and best of all, we got to open for so many of my heroes. Baaba Seth broke up in 2000, when I moved west, but we still get together every summer for reunion shows.
In 2003 I finally built my home studio. I don't think I've left it since. I'm a bit of a hermit anyway, and I have the loving support of my wife who doesn't mind making the bacon (she's a nurse practitioner) while I hole away in my studio day and night.