I had the pleasure of talking to Andrew Nalani ’16, a member of the World Music Percussion Ensemble, about their concert this Sunday and the ensemble in general. Andrew and I lived together in the Sustainable Living Center for a term last year and he is one of the most thoughtful and likable people on this campus. Read more below for his thoughts on dance, drums, and music!
What is special about playing in a percussion ensemble?
Andrew: For me, to have a chance to take a break from my intellectual efforts at least twice a week during rehearsals, helps me channel a different form of creative expression. My experience in the ensemble is both about making music through rhythm, but also a stress relief experience!
Rhythm is obviously important to this music. Can all the musicians in the ensemble dance as well as they can play?
Andrew: I’m not sure about that one–it would make for more laughter during our performances.
Is there a dominating emotion you feel or try to channel in your performances?
Andrew: Perhaps there’s not a dominating emotion I try to channel in my performance. It’s more of what is evoked out of me as I play the drums or sing. And that emotion is joy and a lightness of being.
If you could be any type of drum, what kind would you be?
Andrew: Bendir frame drum! We have one in the ensemble from Morocco and I’ve played it once (in my sophomore year). I’d like to be as sturdy and resonant as the buzz from the drum.
Who is the coolest member of the World Music Percussion Ensemble?
Andrew: Gee, that’s a tough one! The different personalities of the ensemble really make it the gem that it is–although it’s hard to overlook Hafiz’s [Professor Hafiz Shabazz] multi-talented craft and the stories he tells of his adventures traveling around the world to drum ever since he was young.
The World Music Percussion Ensemble performs at 2 pm on Sunday, Feb. 7. Here’s a link to the sound of the bendir frame drum.