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Martin Neil

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.”

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Africa

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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Sounds from the Voice box

By | Voice | No Comments

There are so many incredible sounding instruments that we have encountered on our travels, yet there is nothing quite like the human voice for it’s range, diversity and uniqueness. From Tuvan throat singing practised amongst nomadic Mongolian farmers to the South Indian art of vocal percussion called Konnakol, every culture, people group and religion uses their vocal chords to produce singing. In some communities, it is so much a part of life that everyone participates, ie. Central African pygmies where everyone is an incredible vocalist and is able to sing complex yodeling.

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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.

Preparing for an evening of drums

The Heartbeat of Music

By | Drums | No Comments

The drum is one of the oldest known musical instruments, being played in various forms by nearly every people group in the world, producing a huge variety of sounds fashioned in many shapes and sizes, the drum provides the foundation to most traditional and modern day music.

For over 4,000 years drums have been used in many diverse situations, e.g. in religious celebrations, for sending signals or messages, on the battlefield during the Civil War, to help African slaves overcome the boredom of hard monotonous work, storytelling in China, carnivals in Brazil, healing, dancing, and entertainment. Read More

Tanzania story.

By | My Blog Notes | No Comments

Whilst traveling on a coach between Dar Es Salaam and Dodoma – there were endless TV soaps, which are loved by locals and always bring much laughter. Enjoyed this simple story ..

A coffee shop owner brags about a cat he has taught to do many things. He gathers his friends to show them all the wonderful things the cat can do. Everyone is very impressed until one of the guests throws a rat into the shop and the cat forgets its job and chases the rat. The guest says, “The cat may be able to be taught many things but he will never forget what he has been made for.”

Medical Dispensary

By | Tanzania | No Comments

It was great to see the medical dispensary up and running with medicine in the cabinet, a microscope, solar panels on the roof and electricity about to be connected.  It now has full-time medical workers and fieldworkers dealing with the day to day running. Next door, the government’s hospital is now a clinic for pregnant women. It was intended for people who are severely ill and need a bed but sadly at the moment it is being used as a dorm for the field students.

When speaking with the medical staff and chairman of the village we realised that the workers don’t live near the dispensary, not the best situation. So we discussed the possibilities of building a home that would be available to those that work at the dispensary. This would be an incredible help for any emergency situations at night which at the moment aren’t covered.

Mnase village 2017

By | Tanzania | No Comments

Mnase village was like a desert and Bekah’s eyes were soon streaming as strong winds blew up dust into her eyes. Because the fields were so bare, apart from a few decimated crops, plastic litter could be seen everywhere dotting the village landscape. Before they had access to plastic all their waste would decompose naturally. No refuse collection here!

Seth has encouraged the chairman that each visit we stay in a different part of town in order to continually build friendships. This time we are staying in a house with sofas / couches and amazingly, just connected 3 days before, electricity! Wow what incredible changes in the community. Everyone was pleased to see us and there were lots of warm welcomes.