I have played and recorded in international settings, a multitude of percussion instruments, guitar, bass, harmonica, some flutes, keyboard, and if you push me - a very fine jaw harp.
In fact, if I break it down.... I just love to offer-up music, in a living room, a bar, a concert hall or an intercontinental, interactive satellite coordinated concert.
I became fascinated with percussive sounds from around the world… especially African and Latin American rhythms. I fanatically traveled the world collecting anything that you could bang, scrape or hit.
What I learned? Border customs people really don’t appreciate the true value of handmade African caxixi shakers or a Brazilian berimbau. They just want the serial number.
More importantly, a single clicking or ringing sound in a song can make or break that song.
I toured Canada, USA and Europe and recorded many “world music” albums (before it was called that), with my late, musical soul mate, Dario Domingues. We played in grand churches, the water reservoirs under Munich, on an island where 100,000 doves were released at the climax of our performance, the first-ever “simulcast”, live satellite, intercontinental concert and then, the humbling experience of being involved in Berlin, in front of 500,000 people, for a series of anti-apartheid concerts featuring ‘Sting’. For our 'world music' efforts, we were awarded the Deutscher Schallplattenpreisan (1983) accolade by the Deutsche Phono-Akademie, an association of recording companies of Germany that recognizes outstanding achievement in the music industry.
What I learned? Music is truly a universal language. Around the world people are drawn to music. Of course, different strokes for different folks!
Whether you play in front of a half-million people in a field, or 10 people in a bar, your role as a musician never changes.
“Dream of the Drum” – I was commissioned to compose and conduct a score for 40+ percussionists from all corners of the world... Jamaican fire dancers, Trinidadian steel drummers, Japanese kodo drummers, African djembe players, military drummers,... the list goes on.
What I learned? The language of music respects no geographic borders.
Also, never start your outdoor concert, with a lone Native Elder's rain drum song. The drum's magic works!
I helped build three innovative recording studios plus, my current production studio. I academically taught musical acoustics and production for several years.
What I learned? All the mathematics and physics in the world can’t replace a good ear.
As a producer, I've had the wonderful opportunity to work in great studios in NYC and Nashville with amazing session musicians such as: Eric "Roscoe" Ambel - best known as lead guitarist of Steve Earle’s band the Dukes; Dan Baird of the chart-topping 'Georgia Satellites'; guitarist extraordinaire, Warner E. Hodges, founding member of 'Jason and the Scorchers'.
What I learned? Great musicians tend to be humble but they sure have opinions! In Nashville, I was bluntly told -"No, I won't raise the tom level - in country music, we use toms for holding our bourbon glass." I never did get the toms louder.
I spent many years as President of the Ottawa International Jazz Festival and met some of the greatest musical geniuses in the world.
What I learned? "Man, if you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know."
Music for jingles on radio and TV. Documentaries.
My personal favourite was coming up with suitable music for the mating rituals of pigs or, how to create 60 minutes of Arctic wind sounds for the movie 'Never Cry Wolf'.
What I learned? You can tell an entire story in a 29.5 second radio jingle and music is the glue that holds a great video together.
Kluane Takhini’s tracks