Noisy Toys interviews:
Christo Pellani: professional drummer
NT: Why did you choose the drums to play as a child?
Christo: When I was a kid I carved my first drum sticks out of tree branches and I started messing around with coffee cans like most kids do. I got my first drum kit when I was 12. In the past five years Ive been playing hand-drums more extensively. Ive expanded from playing congas to djembe and various Middle Eastern -type instruments like doumbecs and darbukas, tabla and Udu and all the other hand instruments as well.
NT: Tell us about your drum set career and where youve played.
Christo: I played on the East Coast for a long time. I did a lot of recording with many bands there and I started touring in the Midwest with a band called Sheriff, which ended up having a hit... after I left, of course. I also did some TV work with Pierre Beauregards Cambridge Harmonica Orchestra in Boston. I did a lot of club playing and touring, including a short tour with Mary Wells and the Shirelles. I also played with the Marvelettes and with a band in Washington D.C. called The Dinettes. We used to revive all the old girl group tunes with a new-wave kind of beat. We became popular and ended up going on tour with some of those girl group bands.
Since Ive been on the West Coast Ive been playing with various people...
NT: Why are you moving from drum set to hand drums and is it a trend?
Christo: I think a lot of drummers are waking up to the sound and the possibilities of the creative textures with various hand drums. Ive found it opens up so many more ideas for rhythms and dynamics and creativity with all the different drums from around the world. They all have their own particular sound and technique which is challenging to learn and once you learn it you can create your own ideas for rhythm.
NT: Why do you think kids should be exposed to music and drumming?
Christo: Ive been interested in music therapy and expressive therapy for many years. Before I moved to California I had to make a decision to not go to grad school for expressive therapy because I decided to pursue my performance career instead. Ive found music has many ways to help people express themselves. Ive been working with a young man for about 3 years who has Downes Syndrome. Hes a student of mine who instead of working on reading we work on total expressiveness. It is amazing to watch him because hes so unfettered and inspirational. So in-the-moment and expressive.
In doing rhythm awareness in the schools I notice that the children are open to new ideas and are hungry for creativity. Theres also a connectedness they have from listening to each other and it teaches them to be more cooperative and tolerant with each other. Its a wonderful feeling to see a circle going and to see the looks on the kids faces. So I think its very important on a lot of levels and I want to do more teaching in schools about world music and music expression.
The Soundscape Pyramids CD and the new
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