It’s really exciting to me how the explosion of creativity in the digital age, keeps going- even during a pandemic!
Our friend and teacher Sikiru Adepoju, master talking drummer from Nigeria, recently released his newest album “OPE” with the Riddim Doctors. The album features so many musicians and master drummers including Zakir Hussein and Giovanni Hidalgo and Val Serrant.
In 2018, Sikiru invited me to join the project, by recording some tracks remotely from rural New Hampshire. Sikiru taught me the song “Dide Afrika (wake up Africa)” over the phone and helped correct my Yoruba pronunciation. Then I did some arranging and practicing, and went to “Hummingbird Studios” in Andover, NH where Jimmy Sferes recorded the backing tracks. I was so nervous at the recording session! I sang in between sips of green tea with agave. After a bunch of takes in English and Yoruba, we were done, and ready to send the files to Sikiru’s engineer in Oakland, California. I would have enjoyed a trip to California, but the simplicity of being able to record tracks remotely and send them over the internet, made things very easy.
I’ve known Sikiru since I was 9 years old, when my mom Grace Schust met him at a drumming residency with Babatunde Olatunji. Our family, became family of the heart with Sikiru and Baba. I’m so happy that I was able to sing on his album. If you are interested in the project, you can read about it here… or stream it here! “Ope” means gratitude in Yoruba. Baba was always saying “there is no much to give thanks for.” I am grateful for our connection with African drumming and our drumming family of the heart.
So much has changed in the past 6 months in our world, but one thing stays the same: the music never stops. Whether people are playing outside, performing online, or recording remotely, the music continues to play. With the help of technology, I’ve been able to keep working on my EP “Country Way” and keep mixing remotely with an amazing engineer.
In terms of Lindsey Schust and the Ragged Mt. Band, we continue to work remotely and the family part of the band, in our own bubble, continue to play and perform online. We performed virtually for the Andover Historical Society’s Old Time Fair in August, see video here.
Grace and I have been teaching drum ensembles on Zoom.us and private lessons through the Concord Community Music School (now virtual for the time being). I know I’m lucky to have the technology available and the internet bandwidth.
It’s funny how my last post was questioning all this technology, and here we are today September 1, 2020 in the midst of the worst pandemic any of us have ever experienced, and the internet is helping to keep the world running while the essential workers and healthcare providers are on the front lines.
Keep playing music and keep listening, as we navigate this stormy sea during this strange time. Stay safe and be kind to one another. Peace and love, Lindsey.
INSTANT COMMUNICATION! Today, our world is supercharged by satellites which drive instant communication, and we are barraged with data, ideas, un-edited “gut responses” to images or happenings. Truth and reality are intertwined with “branding”, not the kind we used on cattle, to mark them as ours, but a self-branding that forces us to create a dual life. One electronically motivated and influenced by dings and bings from devices in our hands, laps, on our wrists. The other is the native life we live in our environment, in real time, face to face with friends, family, co-workers, pets, wildlife, and the ever changing weather.
Now, the web is our ocean and we navigate it simultaneously while navigating our non-digital lives.
Everyone is communicating these days, and discussing all sorts of detailed topics. It’s a wonder, and it’s evolving as we speak. People are speaking through screens, talking through digital text messages, sending photographs and videos that instantly appear and then disappear. Our new reality is here and we are the first generation of humans to understand it.
Everything has come before in some sort or another. We send digital messages with images and symbols, not unlike the Hieroglyphics of the ancient Egyptians. Our communication is new and old, and ever evolving, at a rapid pace.
Sometimes it is confusing, sometimes it is elevating, and sometimes is brings sad or joyful news. Even in areas without “reception”, electronic communication is all around. It’s almost as instant as the sound of a drum playing a pattern to get the villagers’ attention.
It’s almost as instant as someone giving you a hug or calling out your name. What are your preferred modes of communicating these days? How do you find the balance between “screen time” and off screen time in our modern culture?