Sunday, June 13, 2010
Our Furthering Need to Express...
From my experience over many years, a lot of visual artists also have a finely honed talent playing a musical instrument, singing, performing publically. I cannot make that proclamation of my own aptitude, but I have since the 70's been playing guitar, blues harmonica. Played in a number of bands over the years, Christian in nature... surprising folks how heavy and loud such music could be such as back in the big hair 80's...the ban called first, "Battlezone"...then "Pursuit"...my next band after that would be in the Eau Claire area (Wisconsin)... "Beggar's Joy"...and for fun, going by the name of "No Big Deal" when getting together here in NE Wisconsin to perform with musician/mates.
Beggar's Joy had a good bit of write up in its hey day, being compared to Dylan meets Santana, meets John Hammond...which was quite complimentary.
I've long favored the blues...played my share of festivals, have an extensive over the years built up collection of music. There is a little know link on my main artist's website, tucked into the Bio...that shares a website on my music and background. Sharing only here and now, because I'm about to share a song I've written over the past week or so, shared with friends that have really liked it, and then spent most of yesterday recording.
The song is called, "So We're Told"
I am cognizant while painting, that I am in the presence of God's creation. The beauty...the sublime is a constant reminder of the unique gift of life and that painting becomes a sort of celebration. I am also aware that many painters are loving painting not necessarily sensing anything greater or transcendent...which is all well and good. I certainly don't want to bemoan nor take away from the joy of others, but am simply expressing what painting as a journey experience means for me.
Playing the guitar is a painting of another sort. The notes are like colors...and when I am playing...exploring the guitar, it takes me away. My wife will attest a certain look that comes over my face, and she'll know I'm not likely to hear much of what she is saying from that moment to quite some time. The fretboard is like a canvas...
I see so many parallels.
Well...it is oft said or quoted that scriptures say that even if God is not praised (by mankind), the rocks themselves will cry out. I often see metaphors, parallels...that mirror certain truths, and reflect and muse. For example...a keyboard digitally has components made from minerals...minerals are from rock (as it were)...and thus, even the rocks cry out.
Guitar strings are metal...metal comes from mineral in...yes, once more...rock!
Over the past number of weeks, I was introduced to the hang drum. A unique wok shaped drum, and searching on Youtube will bring up a good number of examples. Amazing sound. Like an inverted steel drum that sounds out notes in its percussion.
To get a hang drum...you have to go to Switzerland to stay with this guy for 30 days, who shows you how to play one basically...and he builds one for you that you can expect will take about six months. Their cost is about $5,000...but more if you can take yourself away from work for a month, the cost to travel...lodge, etc.
Didn't take long though...and someone figured out how to take a purged or new 20lb propane tank...cut very measured tongue shape cuts on one end after its base is cut away, and create something similar. It is admittedly crude by comparison...a beast to tune. Yet, it is fun to have something that is more folk like to add to the mix.
The guy that came up with it has a video on YouTube showing his methods of making, offers a template online to download. His name is Hank...and thus, those that have made such drums are calling them their "hank drum"...and, here is mine-
The drum has a gritty bold sound, the resonance distinct...and adds a unique flavor. That being said, I'll share my song "So We're Told!" and you'll hear my hank drum near the song's end. Now...without apologies...it will take some playing to perfect a proper and better method of playing the drum (and right kind of song of course) ...but I like its honest and lively sound.