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Christchurch Percussion Classes!

It’s no fresh news that Christchurch is going through hard times at the moment. I was in Christchurch for a few days last week and our beautiful Garden City is in a state of upheaval after months of earthquakes and aftershocks. Mother Earth and Father Heaven have their own rhythm and rhyme regarding these matters and for us mere mortals, well, we get the opportunity to make the best of it that we can – to create our own rhythms and find some joy amid the glorious but often enigmatic reality that is life!

There is an African proverb that runs, “If thine enemy wrong thee, buy each of his children a drum.” You get the drift…

Doug BrushIf this is how our good friend Doug Brush got his start in the world of percussion instruments, his parent must have done a terrible amount of wrongin’ and Doug must have been an only child because the lad seems to play every type of drum on the planet! I jest about his parents of course, but not only is Doug a huge percussion instrument talent, he is also a community minded dynamo when it comes to drums and drumming – a real ambassador for the percussive branch of the sacred music tree. And in times of crises such as the current earthquake situation in Canterbury, what better way to calm the nerves and bring people together than through music?

Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.
   – from The Mourning Bride by William Congreve.

So why not make music? Why not take up a new instrument or rekindle your interest in an instrument that you used to play? Perhaps drumming is your thing but you just don’t know it yet! Perhaps you need the inspiration and encouragement of a drumming community. If this rings a little bell inside you, get in touch with Doug Brush. Doug and his friends have been very proactive in keeping their percussive activities alive despite the earth’s recent percussive activities in the South Island of New Zealand. Here’s the latest from Doug:

Rhani Krija Percussion Clinic at CPIT Jazz School

Rhani KrijaJust wanted to let people know that there is a very special percussion event happening in Christchurch tomorrow night. The Christchurch Polytechnic’s Jazz School is hosting a percussion workshop with the Moroccan born percussionist Rhani Krija. Rhani is currently touring with Sting‘s Symphonicity concert series that will offer concerts in Christchurch and Napier with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. This from the CHART website:

Moroccan born percussionist, Rhani Krija is currently touring New Zealand with Sting’s Symphonicity tour and performing a clinic in Christchurch on Wednesday 9th February, 7:30pm at the CPIT Jazz School.

As a teenager, he began to work professionally as a percussionist with some of the most respected musicians of the traditional Moroccan music scene, and he soon established himself as a sought-after musician, well known for his authentic grasp of Arabic, Andalusian, African and Latin American music styles. Mastering a large variety of percussion instruments such as the Darbouka, Riqq, frame drums, congas, bongos, Djembe, Caribbean timbales and many others, his musical influences today are derived from a combination of traditional Arabic and North African rhythms, Latin American styles, Blues, Reggae and Pop.

Admission will only set you back $5.00 and this promises to be a great opportunity to meet and hear a renowned international percussionist in person…! Here’s a taste of Rhani Krija doing what he loves to do:

Listening and Learning with Ronan Browne

Ronan BrowneIn every generation there are those who feel the urge to carry forward the essence of the culture, land and peoples that they are born into and amongst. Ireland’s Ronan Browne is such a person. A renowned piper, musician, composer, teacher, writer and historian, Ronan is not only making efforts to record and promote the traditional music of Ireland but, as the article below exposes, is also discovering and teaching new ways to hear and appreciate the beauty that lies at the core of Irish traditional music, language and culture. The grandson of the renowned Irish singer Delia Murphy, Ronan lives in Conamara with his wife and two children. For more information, kindly view the Ronan Browne links at the bottom of this page.

In the following article, Ronan Browne writes about the evolution and aims of his music appreciation and listening courses. We are very honoured and most grateful to Ronan for taking the time to pen this inspiring article for The Gandharva Loka Bloggo raibh maith agat a Rónáin.

Learn to Listen – Listen to Learn

Written by Ronan Browne with photographs by Lieve Boussau


Essentially Learn to Listen – Listen to Learn is a “music appreciation/listening class” (using sound recordings, pictures and videos) where the students teach themselves how to interpret any piece of music they come across. Instead of lecturing the participants as to what they are listening to, they tell me, learning quickly to think on their own.

I have been running the course in varying lengths from 45 minutes up to 3 days – the longer you do it, the more fun you have…!