O Priestess Let the sounds of our drums lead you into the other world. As the ancients followed their beloveds to the tomb with the drum and song and lamentation, may the sounds that you inspired follow you on your journey, As all our hearts beat as one.
Valerie is one of the most prominent influences upon my art and a constant source of inspiration. I am truly fortunate to have had her as my mentor. It is because of her efforts that this specific music has gained exposure academically, throughout the world. Her performance of the gyil has led to a chiefly decree that grants woman in Ghana permission to play publicly. Valerie has also published a series of recordings and transcriptions of the traditional gyil music for solo marimba. Valerie gave me the opportunity to study with her independently for abut 10 years.
Valerie is one of a few people in the world to have gained mastery of the gyil music from her studies with Kakraba Lobi. Kakraba Lobi, the foremost of gyil players and instrument makers, was one of the first Ghanaian musicians to record and tour outside of Africa. His teachings have been passed on to Valerie through her extraordinary effort and determination. Valerie holds the ancient knowledge that Kakraba has left the world. The mentor-disciple relationship is perpetuating as it should.
I studied gyil with Kakraba Lobi on both of my independent research trips to Ghana (summer 2001 & summer 2005). On Kakraba's last U.S. tour, I organized a performance for him and Valerie in Philadelphia for a Crossroads Music Concert at the "Calvery Center for Culture & Community" (March 2007). It was apparent after Kakraba's death in (August 2007), that in order to carry on his legacy, it will be a life-time of effort and study. I will continue to research gyil music by traveling to Ghana. As an apprentice of Valerie's, I have an incredible opportunity to study in the U.S. Valerie has already gone through the arduous process of cataloguing, mastering and transcribing the musical language. She is also an expert educator. As an American, this foreign music, is very challenging to study. It is important to take into consideration accurate translation across language barriers. To interpret the traditional music requires dedicated effort and patience. Learning from Valerie is special because she has created a pedagogy for teaching the music and is an master music theorist. Her efficiency as a teacher will influence my life goals, for I have much to do and so little time. Respect and discipline fuel teacher-student relationships like the one I shared with Valerie. "Master artists" such as Valerie Naranjo and Kakraba Lobi, in many folkloric traditions around the world, have ancient wisdom that must be passed on.
A simple experiment demonstrating the visualisation of cymatics can be done by sprinkling sand on a metal plate and vibrating the plate, for example by drawing a violin bow along the edge, the sand will then form itself into standing wave patterns such as simple concentric circles. The higher the frequency, the more complex the shapes produced, with certain shapes having similarities to traditional mandala designs (sacred geometry).
The Gamelatron is the fruit of a collaboration between The Composer and multi-media artist Zemi17: Aaron "Taylor" Kuffner with http://gamelatron.com/audio.php. Each track has it's own stream/download!
Modeled after traditional Balinese and Javanese gamelan orchestras, the Gamelatron features sets of classic instruments in ornate frames with custom robotic counter parts. MIDI sequences control up to 170 robotic striking mechanisms that produce intricately woven rhythmic sound. The Gamelatron is presented as a site specific sound installation / kenetic sculpture and as an instrument for live concert performance.