This is my new blog on Drumavox which comprises the earliest musical instruments in the human arsenal – voice and percussion. My objective is to present compositions that utilize only these two elements in a way our evolutionary ancestors could never have anticipated. Drumavox features a gifted a cappella choir from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia: soprano Alice Madeddu, mezzo-soprano Eva Pagella, tenor Matteo Siddi, and bass Manuel Cossu. The relationship began in 2016 at the Sant’Anna Arresi Jazz Festival in Sardinia, as part of the premiere of “Zappanation,” a rock opera I composed and dedicated to the spirit of Frank Zappa and Edgard Varèse. I never met the members of the choir before the festival and was thrilled when I discovered their vocal abilities and willingness to experiment. Each brought novel elements of their own to the mix. Matteo Siddi in particular boasted a rock-star falsetto to rival Axl Rose, coupled with viral fame as the “Gesù di Cagliari” – an irreverent Jesus Christ impersonation that he’s performed in a variety of jaw-dropping contexts, including a send-up of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. It’s fun to work with musicians that come from a different place and tradition. These singers have done everything from opera to musical theater to rock music and folk singing. As a drummer it gave me absolute freedom to express myself, and as a composer I could take different kinds of risks and they enjoyed the challenge and never doubted the possibilities and potential of the drum a cappella concept. I think of Drumavox as a green band and we don't need any modern technologies to perform this music. I like the idea of creating music that doesn't need electricity, computers and we could very much perform completely acoustic.
Because of the success of the Zappanation rock opera it excited me to these new possibilities and these results can be heard in our first album that culled pieces from my diverse composition portfolio. While I often narrated the stories behind these songs from behind the drumkit, I found the collaboration opened up stunning new opportunities to exercise new ways to express the Rhythmic Storytelling concept. I’ve embraced what I call the wandering folk theory and take stories and songs from different parts of the world and different places in history and I adapt them from my perspective as a drummer. I redevelop them as someone who comes from my specific musical background and allow them to evolve on their own so that I can present them through my own voice. The eight tracks on Drumavox pairs contrasts as startlingly and harmoniously as it pairs percussion and voice. In my upcoming blog posts I will give you an insight to the composition and creative process in how the music came to be. EXPERIENCE THE ENTIRE DRUMAVOX ALBUM HERE