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Martin Neil


A fishy story!

By | First Nations | No Comments

The local fisheries have not allowed net fishing this year due to the extremely low numbers of Chinook Salmon returning to the Stikine river– the livelihood for this region! During the Friday evening’s gathering, a truck full of salmon traveling from Alaska crashes on a bend right outside the festival. The driver amazingly is not hurt but the truck is destroyed. Not only does this prompt passers-by to stop at the festival but the fish have to be redistributed so as not to be wasted and the village of Dease Lake and surrounding area now have enough fish for a year! Provision comes in interesting packages! Read more for pictures. Read More


Gifting a drum

By | First Nations | No Comments

3 years ago we were invited by Grand Chief Lynda Prince to visit the Tahltan people of Dease Lake area in Northern British Columbia for a music festival. During this event 120 drums were being bought to the land and played as a symbolic act of returning the drum to it’s people. Read More

Chipmunk Big Bear CA

The Americas

By | Americas | No Comments

Having travelled to 49 of the 50 states in North America, I have realised the amazing diversity amongst its people. In fact  the Americas (North and South) are home to over 1000 indigenous languages. And what amazing musical sounds and styles from the second line drumming of New Orleans,  Inuit throat singing known as katajjaq from Quebec to Brazillian samba and Guyana calypso. What stands out artistically amongst the indigenous people of these lands is their visual arts – their pottery, paintings, jewellery, weavings, basketry, beadwork, carvings and sculptures.



By | Oceania | No Comments

“Vast tracts of ocean, whether Polynesia, Micronesia or Melanesia, contain island populations that remain outside the modern world. They know about it, they may have traveled to it, they appreciate artifacts and medical help from it, but they live their daily lives much as hundreds of generations of ancestors before them, without money, electricity, phones, TV or manufactured food.” – Andrew Rayner, Reach for Paradise

The Pacific Islands have always sparked thoughts of both mystery and paradise. Until you fly from California south to New Zealand or Australia you never quite understand the vastness of the ocean that lies below – an area covering 30% of the world’s surface with more than 25,000 islands! Interestingly the Pacific Ocean got its name from the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 who called its waters “mar pacifico” which means peaceful sea.

Different perspective on being a musician.

By | My Blog Notes | No Comments

Reminded today of a quote from a book ‘The Healing Drum” by Yaya Diallo.

“The star system I see in Western popular music goes very much against the standards of conduct for the village musician with which I was raised. The star does not give time to the community but to himself or herself. The star usually seeks to amaze people, not to care for them; to be admired and praised by the anonymous throngs, not to honour distinct individuals whose lives depend on one another in the community. It is forgotten that the reason for playing is to bring well-being to people. This is different from driving fans into ecstasies of overexcitement. Music should not be a means to building a personal cult. That is idolatry. My village tradition teaches that music is a calling greater than the individual. I can give my life to it if I love it. In serving this music, I can share with other people and contribute to their joy and health.”



By | Africa | No Comments

A vast continent that has at least 3000 distinct ethnic groups, (Nigeria alone has more than 370 recognised tribes) each with their own unique culture. Every time we visit, we come back changed by the breathtaking landscapes, the colourful people and the astounding  musicality that holds the stories of this incredible land. Read More

Czech Republic

By | Europe | No Comments

This year will be quite a year for the Czech people – 100 years as an independent nation, 50 years since the Prague Spring and 25 years since the Czech Republic was founded. Music played a part in this story with Marta Kunišová’s song ‘A Prayer for Marta’ becoming an anthem of the resistance in 1968. Will be thinking of our friends as they remember these significant times during this year of 2018.

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