I love percussion almost as much as I love some of the incredible percussionists I am privileged enough to perform with. Nick Halley is one of them – a dear friend and colleague with whom I can chat about music and life, and about all the fascinating and inevitable ways in which those two things intersect. Nick has an incredibly diverse skill-set: he is a highly creative ‘world’ percussionist, a wonderfully sensitive drummer (his versatility allows him to work with singers as diverse as James Taylor and classical soprano Suzie LeBlanc), and is also a choral director (he founded and now runs two thriving choirs on Canada’s East Coast). As a result, our musical discussions range from ‘all things percussion’ to ‘why Bach wrote the best counterpoint’. In this short clip – a teaser-trailer for a full-length video of a complete piece currently ‘in the works’ – Nick and I rehearse the coda of my Solea di Diomira before a concert:
The music combines Flamenco elements (you can probably hear that in some of the chord progressions) with the structural use of a North-Indian Classical Tabla form: the chakradhar (trans. ‘wheel/circle’, explained in more detail in my tihai blog post here).
I ♥ P
Percussion instruments (a family which includes the piano) make me think of the notion of ‘verticality’. These instruments need to be struck. Much to my regret, their sound dies instantaneously. Immediately, I am left with the realization that, as performer or composer, it takes thought and effort to transcend ‘verticality’ in order to produce ‘linearity’. Utilizing concept and phrasing, one aims to create a sense of line – a musical narrative.
top – Scarlett Kelly
bottom – “Kodo, Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble.” Kodo, Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble. Web. 01 May 2014.