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1 BOOMER VISITS NEPAL on Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:57 pm

Letting drums do the talking

Drumming legend Billy Cobham gets overwhelming response in Capital as music enthusiasts crowd NMC
KATHMANDU: There wasn’t any place to stand! Musicians and eager music students had filled every space available at the Nepal Music Centre’s hall. American jazz drummer, composer and band leader Billy Cobham, an epitome of the fusion drummer, was the reason for this over-crowdedness. His popular tune Red Baron accompanied by a thundering applause welcomed him.

“Wow! I didn’t think it would be like this,” he said to a throng of spellbound musicians on April 16. And he couldn’t stay away from the drum kit on the stage. He picked up the drum sticks and started to play the drums to everyone’s delight. Explosive techniques in subtler, funkier grooves and vital drums tips on tempos came straight from the legend himself.

Cobham who has strings of albums under his belt — Spectrum and Crosswinds to name a few — is in Nepal for a visit with an “open mind to experience Nepal in a little way” for 10 days. He feels “privileged” to be here.

He took time out with The Himalayan Times to talk about how “comfortable” he is with himself and his obsession for drums. “I felt comfortable, there is no apprehension or stress. This is what we do and this is how we live. This is a part of our life as a musician,” he remarked adding, “It is nice to share information with my colleagues and students.”

He attended New York’s famed High School of Music and Art studying music theory and drum technique. One of the best drummers of the world, he has been associated with artistes like trumpeter Miles Davis and the Mahavishnu Orchestra from a long list. His passion to play drums is “beyond love and obsession”. He calls it “a lifetime commitment” which he has pursued since childhood.

If others use languages and gestures to communicate, this 70-year-old drummer uses drums to express himself. His art of expression is about letting out “what you feel inside” while listening and playing. And he explained it as “a two-way mirror of who you are, where you come from and where you want to go. It is your past, present and future”.

Five decades and counting, Cobham is still playing the drums with the same gusto. From his compositions to playing techniques and styles, he is an inspiration to which he answered, “I am honoured that anyone would listen to what I am doing. I am just doing what I feel comfortable with. I am happy about it.”

Every note he plays, he teaches and he expresses with every performance. And he is just being a musician. “If you are comfortable with yourself, you are able to express,” the drummer remarks who believes in “living a good life everyday, taking one day at a time”.

With a positive attitude, Cobham will “enjoy my time” on his first visit to Nepal. Learning from every experience, he will perhaps take away some good experiences from Nepal.

Mesmerised by Cobham

KATHMANDU: When Billy Cobham paid a visit to Nepal and Nepal Music Centre, it was the drummers who were happy amongst all musicians. And some of them shared their reactions about the personality

He is a legend. I am very lucky to meet him. He has worked with high level musicians and all the drummers are very happy on his visit. At 70 he has the same enthusiasm and energy and his tip was a motivation for the students. In drumming, proper timing which we call it ‘pulse’ is very important for all the drummers and he shared this with us. — Nikhil Tuladhar

It is a dream come true. I got to meet a great jazz personality here in Nepal. He is someone whom I have grown up listening to. I have been involved in jazz music and I am learning jazz music. To meet such a respected musician is great. He is a jazz drummer and has collaborated with numerous musicians. — Kiran Shahi

It was great performing for him. It was a very big thing for me because he is a legend. — Anmol Mohara

The article was from the Himalayan Times .. Way to go Boomer !

Peace, TED

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