Interviews, Tribal Revolution and going solo

Jon Silpayamanant performing at the afterparty at Tribal Revolution in Chicago (June 23, 2011) -photo by Carrie Meyer

It’s about time I started gathering all the interviews I’ve given over the years into one spot.  Or rather, to compile a list of them with links to those I have full permissions to give.  Interestingly most of the interviews were given within the context of discussing either il Troubadore or Noiseman433.  The interview I just gave earlier this week is one that focused on me as a bellydance musician though Julia asked some questions about all of my various projects (as did David Boyer in last year’s interview for his book, Indiana’s Got Talent!).

Some things through Julia’s interview with me bear mentioning as these things will come out sooner or later.  I’m in the middle of recording a solo cello/electronica bellydance album as I told her and some of the reasons behind this is to have total control over the sound as well as to start exploring where I might go solo.  Obviously the recording itself will be heavily produced with multiple tracks but I’m hoping the kernel of many of the musical ideas can but formatted somehow into a solo show setting.

After playing Tribal Revolution this weekend we spent a few hours just jamming at the Convention center until 5 in the morning.  But one of the most incredible sessions was when Amel Tafsout started a North African rhythm that August Hoerr and I traded improvs on but it was up to me to start it as Amel motioned towards me after starting the rhythm.  I ended up playing in a maqam that I’ve never actually used before (Bayati Shuri on A) and about which the zahir (literally “path” but used in reference to the path that melodic development may take) I know nothing.  August was beautifully imitating the melodic lines I created in his responses despite the fact that Bayati Shuri has one neutral tone (half flat on B).

In the end we weren’t particularly concerned with being strictly traditional–that is the point of tribal rev after all–but it was just a pleasure to be able to cut loose in improv without all the baggage of having chords or an implied Western tonality over a beautifully subtle competently executed North African Arabic rhythm.  Now that I think about it, maybe I should have listed this performance in the interview when Julia asked me what were the performances that stood out in my career.

Jon Silpayamanant with the bellydance superstar, Rachel Brice, after we performed at the Tribal Revolution gala show (June 23, 2011) -photo by Celeste

But what some of this is leading to is the desire to do more solo work.  I now work regularly with dancers in several groups doing so many different dance styles from Balkan Folk to Central Asian to Experimental Vintage Goth (nice oxymoron, eh?) and sing in a couple dozen or more languages outside of those I’d started singing in with il Troubadore that it’s just time for me to really start developing things on my own for the recording project as well as for live shows.  It will be nice to not be encumbered by others’ idiosyncrasies and be able to focus on either re-creating more traditional sounds or more experimental ones.

Which, as you can see from the interviews linked to above, is exactly the direction I’ve wanted to go!


2 thoughts on “Interviews, Tribal Revolution and going solo

    1. Heehee–how are your zill skills? I can always make it a “dark gothic” album by Secondhand! 😉 The format isn’t set and I’m still debating how to eventually release this. Hell, I can design it specifically for your usage in teaching!


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