Steel Drums, Buckets, and Summer Fun

It’s been so long since I sent out my last newsletter.  Even though it is off season for me a lot has been going on.

Summer 2015 is shaping up to be a busy one!  I already have over 50 gigs booked and more coming in all the time.  I will be performing many family-oriented programs all over Western Washington.  Some are workshops, some are more straight up performances, some are focused on a tween age group, others elementary age group, and others all ages.  Some of these have even made it onto my public calendar!  Please click here to get an idea of where you might catch one of my performances this summer. I am very much looking forward to these performances and sure hope you will come out and join me for some of them!

Of course one of the things I did this winter was my Midwest Recycalypso tour.  Please click here to read part 2 of my blog recounting this experience.

And click here to read part 1 if you haven’t seen that already.

In the past two months I have had some wonderful performances back here in the Puget Sound area.  

A memorable one was at Bennett Elementary School in Bellevue.  Click here to see a glimpse of the start of the show,

featuring my awesome 5-piece band Isaac Castillo, Frank Heye, Adam Kessler, and Ernesto Pediangco.

Click Here for Video

The show featured instruments that students invented and fabricated out of recycled materials.

I never tire of seeing and hearing the musical instruments the kids invent.  One girl had brought from home a huge piece of egg-carton-like cardboard, almost as big as she was.  She attached various rubber bands to pluck and other containers to hit on this large piece of cardboard and she called the entire thing the “Bazoonga”!  I brought her up in front of the group to demonstrate and explain her instrument.  She played it, hitting and plucking… then I noticed that a hand lotion dispencer was also part of the instrument and she hadn’t used it to make any sounds.  I asked her what it was for… “so the Bazoonga smells good” she said.  Now that is creative!!  Never have I given much thought to how a musical instrument smelled :)

After the show a group of girls came up to get our autographs on a piece of paper towel.


Isaac proceeded to play some ukulele for them and they were so impressed that one of them even pretend fainted!


We also received some very touching feedback from a parent regarding this show:

I wanted to say thank you to you and your band for a great day at Bennett.  Everyone was delighted and there was so much happiness buzzing in the hallway after school. 

My children stayed after school for an hour to play on the playground and kids from the Boys and Girls after school care program came out parading their instruments!  

That little boy… with the intuitive sense of rhythm... I shared your compliment with his mother yesterday.  She said that she and her husband (his parents) are going through a divorce and his mother was away in a rehab program so he has been acting out getting lots of negative attention.  THIS was exactly the happy, positive day he needed!  Intuitively, I was thinking that this happy music would inspire little lives but I didn't expect to see the results so soon. 
Thank YOU!

It is such a gift to be able to have a positive impact on children’s lives and we are so honored!

Another memorable event was trying out my new “tween”-focused workshop called Recycalypso: Bucket Drumming Remix.  The workshop brings together culture, steel drums, music, and physics and I use the music computer program Ableton Live to create a live remix of sounds created by the kids with their voices, buckets that they play on, my voice, and steel drum.  I often have ideas about how to use music technology in performance but, when I actually get in front of an audience, it is often very difficult to actually get the technology to work as planned.  But in this case I did three abbreviated bucket drumming workshops in a row and the technology worked every time!

Please click here to listen to a raw remix of what we did.

It uses only sounds that the kids created during the workshop and that I manipulated.

And click here to listen to a more polished remix

where I added my voice (with lyrics recaping the workshop) and steel drums to the elements that the kids recorded.

I was able to create a version for each of the three workshops I did.  So much fun!  Now that I am beginning to have these new technology skills in hand I plan to try and create as many custom remixes of my shows as possible.  I hope to become more and more skilled at manipulating this amazing music technology to allow my audiences and I to create unique music together!

I look forward to seeing you at some of the many shows this summer!

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