Sunday, June 11, 2006

Fullerton Museum Exhibit

This multimedia display at the Fullerton Museum included musical samples from my CDs, four of my handmade drums, an audio interview and the photo of me that appeared in Jake Jacobson's Book: "Hearts & Hands". The museum provided me with a very rewarding opportunity; they sold Rain People CDs in the gift shop and we performed a sold-out concert as well. I never knew that my love of making calabash (gourd) drums would lead to my inclusion in two museum exhibitions and a Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibition.

Focus on musicmakers

© St. Petersburg Times

A noted photographer traveled the
country taking pictures of people who make the instruments they play.

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Florida International Museum creates a unique dynamic by capturing images of music. "Heart & Hands: Musical Instrument Makers of America" features 86 large, framed photographs of Americans who dedicate themselves to the sounds they make. From the Louisiana bayou to Rhode Island, music men and women are shown creating, playing and enjoying music.

The works are part of a traveling show produced by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Noted photographer Jake Jacobson, himself a jazz musician who specialized in the soprano saxophone and the bass clarinet, used the Iris print process to produce high-quality, finely detailed prints.

Jacobson traversed America looking for his subjects, starting at the mouth of the Mississippi River. There he found Adner Ortego, an accomplished fiddlemaker and player. In one photograph, Ortego, wearing a straw hat, plays one of the fiddles he made on the porch of the house where he was born. Now abandoned, the crumbling house stands as a sharp contrast to the polished amber instrument Ortega plays with obvious delight.

Rasheed Ali, of Altadena, Calif., wearing dreadlocks and shell jewelry, plays a skin drum. He specializes in making African and Caribbean drums, a skill passed down to him through many generations. In the quote below the picture, Ali says he hopes to entice young people to learn about the drums, so the instrument can link together the past, present and future.

-reprint from St.Petersburg Times

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