Friday, July 07, 2006

Sacred Passion

Those people, who are my closest friends, know that besides being a musician I am a drum maker. When I discovered this passion for creating musical instruments I was swept away. I did not make one or two drums, I made a few hundred. Each drum that I have made has been a meditative channeling of my African-Caribbean heritage. Maybe I came from a family of artisans, maybe this desire to create musical instruments was dormant in my DNA? One thing I am sure of, whenever I have made a drum, I felt as if I was in the presence of my ancestors. Each drum, each shekere felt as if it were a small piece of a spiritual jigsaw puzzle. The need to fashion more and more instruments came from the feeling that each instrument was only a small part of me. In order for me to feel more complete, I would have to fashion many more drums. The truth is, I feel this same compulsion when I write music. Each song is a part of distinct story that carries me away. At first the destination is totally unknown; where am I being led to? When I recorded the CD: "Thunder in the Jungle" I was led to tell an entire story of being an African in the Americas. It didn't start out like that but (22) tracks later, it had turned into an epic. My best friend called me after I sent him the first dub and he tells me: "Rasheed, I love the music but don't you think (22) tracks is too much?"
So, I tried to edit the number of songs down but each song told me: "No! Not me!"
Suddenly I was apologetic for the breadth of my creative vision, I never want to be long-winded.
Still, the spirits would not loosen their grip on me and I kept all (22) songs. Ultimately, my sacred passions will always over rule my logic. My brain cannot rule my spirit.

Hear my Handmade Calabash Drums: "The Empty Vessel Speaks"